A first time voter from Bustleton Avenue area

Michael Matza reports:

Midafternoon

First-time voter Noelle Johnson, 19, couldn’t wait.


Like many people her age, she used the “status” window on her Facebook page to send a viral message: “Gotta vote. Today’s the big day.”


Inside her family’s apartment about a block from their Bustleton Avenue polling place, she urged her father, Keith Johnson, 49, to hurry up.


“Daddy, you ready?” he recalled her calling out even before the sun was up.
“She’s very excited and I’m very proud of her,” said the father.
Keither Johnson is a maintenance man at Petoni Apartments in Northeast Philadelphia. His daughter is a broadcast journalism major at Community College of Philadelphia.


The state of the economy, and impatience with the U.S. military presence in Iraq, where Noelle’s cousin was killed by a sniper in Fallujah, were the chief factors driving them both to cast votes for Barack Obama.


“I really wanted to vote. It’s very important,” said Noelle. “The price of college tuition is ridiculous.”
Keith Johnson, a former Marine, said he respected McCain’s military service and suffering as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. But that service wasn’t enough to earn Johnson’s vote because McCain, he said, seemed out of touch with harsh domestic realities.


“You know how many POWs have what he has? Just go to the veterans hospital,” said Johnson. “You got to take care of home first.”

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