, Newburyport, MA

Election Connection

February 5, 2008

Voters across the nation cast their ballots on Super Tuesday

Gina Nunez has never missed an election, primary or general, and found herself in the fellowship hall of a Methodist church in Phoenix on Tuesday to vote before anyone else in her precinct. Before the sun came up, for that matter.

She is 43 years old and knows the routine. Still, she said she could not wait to vote this time. This time, she said, it felt somehow different, more exhilarating.

"It just feels like something new's going to happen, something different's going to happen with whoever we get," said Nunez, an elementary school curriculum coordinator who voted for Sen. Barack Obama in the Arizona Democratic primary.

Across the nation, voters like Nunez were taking part in, and in many cases marveling at, a political day like none in American history -- a 24-state, coast-to-coast scramble of presidential primaries and caucuses.

In an already unusual election, the first in more than half a century without a sitting president or vice president on the ballot, it was the first time such a broad swath of voters had a say at the same time in determining the finalists.

In Alaska, people in the community of Fort Yukon were braving some of the worst conditions of the winter to gather at an early-evening caucus in the lobby of a radio station. Monday's high temperature there: minus 54.

In lower Manhattan, voters faced the prospect of fighting through throngs of euphoric New York Giants fans and a ticker-tape parade for the Super Bowl champions to cast ballots in the New York primary.

And in Meridian, Okla., dozens of voters drove down a red clay road in a light rain to the LeGrande family farm, where five voting booths were set up on an enclosed porch.

"I don't have any griping rights if I don't vote," Carol Stephens said there.

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