More about Lines
The lines stretched long in the lobby of the Verizon building in Arlington, longer than Rafael Beltran III had ever seen them in his four years working at the polling place.
"Something or someone has energized the voters," Beltran told Post reporter Theresa Vargas, adding that Democrats had shown up in unusual force. "For the first time in years, some candidate or some message is coming out loud and clear."
The poll workers had started their day at 4:30 am and were running on coffee and water by 8:30 a.m. The lines were no shorter by 10 a.m.
"By now we would be playing cards," Beltran, chief of elections for that voting location, said in mid-morning. "Right now it would have been totally dead."
Instead, he was thinking about the rest of the day and whether he would have to call the county to see if a judge would allow him to keep the polling place open a little longer, whether he would have to mark off the last person to arrive at 7 p.m. Some of the delays, he said, were being caused by people not having their identification ready or not realizing they were registered to vote at a different polling place.
"This is going to be a long night," Beltran said.
In the lobby, the high heels of women dressed for work clanked against the tiled floors and the smell of coffee wafted from a nearby convenience store. It was taking about an hour from the back of the line to reach the front.
Kristy David, 28, of Arlington was among those waiting.
"I definitely had to call the boss when I walked in," she said. " I was shocked to see the line."
She said she wasn't sure at first whether she would vote in the republican or democratic primary, but in the end her vote when to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
"I just think our country needs an inspirational leader," she said.
Also waiting in the line was Bill Briggs, 30, whose vote went to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whom he has supported since 2002.
"I have two brothers in the military," Briggs said. "We're at war. It just helps to have someone in the military whose been there, whose actually been through the worst of war.
Molly Martin, who is in her 30s, walked out of the polling place after giving her vote to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).
"I just want change and I like everything she says," Martin said. "I think she's going to do a really good job."
Martin said she thinks the voting process could be streamlined but otherwise she didn't mind the lines.
"It's an exciting time. The energy between Obama and Hillary has definitely inspired people to get off their couch and vote," she said. "Whatever happens, something good is going to come out of this."
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