I’ve never seen anything like it in 30 years of voting in Hyattsville — when I arrived at the Hyattsville Middle School polling place at 6:15 AM this morning, the line was already well out the door and halfway down the hill even though voting would not start til 7 am. No parking spaces left in the lot, people were parking throughout the neighborhood and walking blocks to get in line. Normally, on past voting days, the line was just a handful at this hour; not today, a day that will make history.
By 6:30 am, the line was snaking down the road a full block out onto the street. Hyattsville residents are a true picture of America’s great diversity: Black, White, Latino, Asian, brand new 18 year-old voters and grandmothers in their 80’s, men approaching 60 with long white hair in ponytails, women in their 30’s in good business suits, people in wheelchairs and leaning on canes who were very good-natured about the long wait. Everyone was quiet, but with a dignity that exuded pride in participation in this moment. Without much acclaim, the look on everyone’s face bespoke the realization that we are all part of history.
Finally, at 7 am, the first voters entered the school gym to cast their ballots. We slowly wound the line up the hill and around the school corridors and on to the electronic voting booths. Even before their first cup of coffee, here were hundreds of people calmly, but with great determination, exercising their most fundamental right of citizenship. This is the “real America” we’ve heard so much about in recent weeks. “Real America” is standing in lines all over the country today as we show the world how beautiful Democracy can be.
As I drove to work after voting, I passed several other polling places, and every single one of them had long lines snaking out the doors and down the streets. I’ve never seen this many voters standing in line in so many places.
The real winner today: American citizens. Hooray for us!
If you haven’t voted yet, please get to the polls!