Saturday, October 25, 2014
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'A piece of history' in Delco

Joelle Farrell reports:

'A piece of history' in Delco

Joelle Farrell reports:

Lansdowne is a Democratic stronghold in Delaware County, but today it was bluer than usual.

Of 800 voters in the first precinct, almost 500 had cast ballots by 5 p.m.

“It’s absolutely higher than ever,” said Ralph Young, judge of elections. “We get anywhere in here from 200 to 400. I’ve never seen 500.”

Sinoe Naji, 35, brought her nine-year-old son Anthony to the polls so they could vote for Obama together.

A fourth-grade student at Friends Select in Center City, Anthony met the senator twice during appearances in Philadelphia. His mother, a single parent who works as a pharmacist, said her son told that Obama, also raised by a single parent, inspired him and made him feel that he could do anything.

At Bell Avenue Elementary School in Yeadon, the wait to cast ballots this morning stretched as long as three hours.

The polling place serves three separate precincts, and initially, there was some confusion about where to stand in line for each. So some people waited in line for the wrong precinct and then had to switch to another line and wait anew for the right one.

Despite the confusion and the wait, election workers said people were determined to vote today.

“One guy came back three times,” said election volunteer Charles Hart. “The first time, he waited two hours, and he had to leave. He came back, he waited for an hour, and he had to leave. Then he came aback again and he finally voted.”

Election judges tried to ease the delays by offering bowls of candy. Outside the polling place, Obama supporters handed out doughnuts to voters, who turned out in large numbers.

The three precincts combined have 7,430 voters. By 6 p.m., more than 5,000 of them had cast ballots, election workers said.

Chanelle Brock brought her two-year-old son along to share the moment. Brock, 24, first came out to vote at 6 a.m., but the lines were so long that she had to leave to make it to her job as a sales associate for Comcast by 8 a.m.

After work, she headed back to the polls with her son Michael Christian in tow. There was no wait, and Brock, who is African American, cast a ballot for Obama, then headed home to host a part and watch the election results.

“I made sure to bring him,” she said of her son. “I wanted to bring him because I feel like this is a piece of history.”

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Thomas FitzgeraldThomas Fitzgerald joined The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2000, and has covered Harrisburg as well as city, state and national politics for the newspaper. He was a “boy on the bus” in the 2004 presidential campaign and during primary contests in 2000 and 1996.

Nathan Gorenstein has covered politics and government in the city, state and nation for the Inquirer. He's worked in the city hall bureau, had a stint on the business desk, and once covered the suburbs. After serving as assistant regional editor, he was named editor of the "Politics" web site.

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