“I was thinking about my dad when I voted. He was with Barack Obama and this whole campaign from the time he announced it in Illinois and very few Black people even knew how to pronounce his name. My daddy lived with us for the last three years of his life. He read both of Obama’s books, more than once. He was in bad health and on October 22, he passed away. So I was thinking about him when I went to early vote. For Black America, having Barack Obama as president is going to mean a chance for change. It’s going to mean that Black Americans have come a long way, though we still have a long way to go. And now the bar is set a little higher, which means that we can strive to do greater things. I don’t look at this as a close race. I’m not even putting that out there. I’m counting it!” –Tom Joyner, radio personality and host of “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.”
When I arrived at the polls early this morning, I was surprised to find out I was the first person to vote at my polling place. I was excited and overwhelmed that this day was finally here. It was truly amazing to see the turnout of minority voters all around me. It showed how important this election is to everyone in the country. Today is a historical day, and I now feel empowered and am looking forward to new beginnings. —Tichina Arnold, actress
“I voted last Wednesday, and what an exhilirating experience! It was great because my mother went with me and she was so happy. She said, ‘See, all those times I told you that you could be president? Now you see that I knew what I was talking about.’ We stood and watched people who were waiting on line for three hours to vote, and they were excited, laughing and cheering. It was a diverse group of people—Asian, Latin, Black, White—just filled with excitement. When I went in, there were so many people who didn’t fully understand the voting process. Some simply said, ‘Just show me where to vote for Obama.’ As a campaign surrogate, I traveled to Iowa to talk to people who asked, ‘How do I pronounce his name,’ and ‘Why should I be voting for this guy?’ Some of my friends laughed at me and said, ‘You’re traveling all this way for Obama? You know Hillary [Clinton] is gonna win.’ Now look at him! I always believed.” —Sheryl Lee Ralph, actress
“I saw an unprecedented amount of young families with their kids this morning at the polls in battleground Virginia. For Loudoun County, my voting district, this historical election brought out a new face of voters—a good sign for Barack Obama, whom I expect to win at least 290 electoral votes. With so many people in the Black community gearing up for an Obama win, I believe more Black voters should be thinking about, ‘What if Obama looses to John McCain?’ I don’t think Black voters are entertaining the idea that McCain could win. But if McCain can pick up Pennsylvania and other key Republican states, then he will win. This election is very emotional for many Americans. There will be a lot of bitterness and sadness in the Black community if Obama is not victorious. It should be noted that if McCain does win, he will win with the lowest number of Black votes in history.” – Sophia Nelson, moderate Republican commentator
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