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A D.C. Native Casts His Vote in A Swing State

What does it feel like to finally cast a vote in a swing state after living in the deep blue District for most of one's life? Erik Linden, a former reporter and a former aide to Mayors Adrian Fenty and Anthony Williams, now lives in Pennsylvania and filed this report for D.C. Wire today.

Bucks County, Pennsylvania. It's 7:30 a.m. and I'm feeling anxious about heading to the polls in this suburb of Philadelphia, where I live with my wife and children. How long will the line be in this heavily contested swing state? Two hours? Three? After so many months of relentless robocalls from the McCain campaign and visits from Obama volunteers to my home, I'm ready to cast my ballot.

The battleground experience is new for me. A District native, I've lived a life of three electoral votes, all sweeping left. I remember sitting in my parents' Tenleytown basement in 1984. Mondale won DC and Minnesota, pummeled by Ronald Reagan. I was 12. I looked up at my father and said, "What makes us and Minnesota so different from the rest of America?"

Now I'm in Bucks County, which has leaned blue the last few election cycles after long being reliably Republican. I show up at a nearby middle school at 7:55 a.m. and see 150, maybe 200 people in line. Who knows how long I might be standing here.

In fact, the line moves--quickly. I cast my vote after 30 minutes in line, helped by an efficient well-organized staff of polling volunteers. My neighbors waiting in the same line stand patiently, most having expected a much longer wait. Many, like me, looking forward to the end of campaign staffs knocking on our doors and glossy mailers by the truck load clogging up mailboxes. And all of us realizing that here in Pennsylvania, "every vote counts" is really true stuff.

I was an early Hillary supporter. From the get-go, she impressed me. But Obama got me at his Denver convention speech. The strength of his delivery, the loft of his prose, the plain sense that he made. He closed the deal when he invoked the power of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Lincoln Memorial address, and, as Obama put it:

"America, we cannot turn back...not with so much work to be done...America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone."

By David A Nakamura  |  November 4, 2008; 6:05 PM ET
Categories:  2008 Presidential Race  
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