November 4th, 2008
01:54 PM ET

Why did you vote?

Miami voters line up at the polls on election day.

Miami voters line up at the polls on election day.

John Zarrella
CNN Miami Correspondent

Why did you vote? Many of those I asked answered simply, saying it's a right we have and it shouldn't be wasted.

For others it is far more personal. I ran into a young man named Rick Garcia coming out of Fire Station 33 after he voted. Rick had tears in his eyes. He had voted before but it never meant as much as this time, he said. Or for that matter, to his friends.

"I got a lot of friends who would never normally register to vote and they were just calling me, 'Where do I go? What do I do?'" Here you go, I'll bring you the paperwork, he told them.

The reason for the enthusiasm, Rick's brother Jair DeJesus Garcia. A private in the U.S. Army, Garcia was killed in Afghanistan. Rick's eyes welled up as he told me the story.

"August 1st of this year he passed away, roadside bomb. It's the main reason why I came to vote."

"In his honor?"

"In his honor, yes. He would want everybody as American citizens to do it."

Rick wears a button with his brother's picture on it and a dogtag around his next. His brother was with Easy Company out of Fort Hood, Texas. He volunteered at age 29 and had only been in Afganistan two months when he died.

Rick says many in his family had never voted before. They too are voting today.

Rick says he will never be able to erase the pain of loss. But voting made him feel at ease, at least for awhile.

Filed under: 2008 Election • John Zarrella • Raw Politics • Voting
soundoff (62 Responses)

    I became a US citizen a couple of years ago and wated for this day – Election Day! I voted because it was the first time I had a chance to vote in my life! It was such a historical day for the nation and for myself.

    November 5, 2008 at 7:26 am |
  2. Judy

    I just saw it stated that a great reason that the Hillary vote has gone almost completely to Obama was due to her vigorous campaigning on his behalf after the Primary.

    While that may be true to an extent, I have yet seen anyone point out another very cogent point... When McCain picked Palin he succeeded in insulting a great many of Hillary's female supporters. When she was named I was sputtering not cheering. The implication that just any woman would gain my vote as a woman despite qualifications or issues was such a slap in the face I could barely bear it. And I know many of my fellow women felt and feel the same way.

    For me, McCain had a chance to sway me to support him, until he named her to the ticket. Frankly she was a deal breaker for me.

    November 4, 2008 at 9:02 pm |
  3. Annie Kate

    I voted because I feel like this is a critical time in US history where we can actually chart our future course and insure that everyone has a chance for life, liberty and happiness along with good health. I'm voting for a better country for my children.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    November 4, 2008 at 7:39 pm |
  4. Simply Stated

    My husband and I are Army veterans. I, thankfully, made it home safely from Afghanistan, but many of my comrades did not. I have been a diligent voter since I was 18 years old, but today seemed even more special. I, like my mother did many years ago, brought my daughter to the polling site. On the way there I explained how the right to vote was a hard-won battle and it is a privilege that should not be taken lightly. I voted for myself. I voted for my children's future. I voted for my comrades who did not come home. I stood on the shoulders of the people who came before me and cast my single vote in the hopes that my voice, however small, will be heard.

    November 4, 2008 at 5:56 pm |
  5. EBC

    I voted because I am an American.

    I voted to not only protect my rights but protect those who cannot protect themselves in our own country. I voted to make friends across party lines as well as across the oceans to the rest of the world.

    I voted because I belong to a generation inheriting a multitude of issues to combat against, preserve, and change. I voted to contribute to my family, my state, my nation and my world.

    I voted because of the past and for the future.

    November 4, 2008 at 5:48 pm |
  6. Jerry of Madison Wi

    Voted early in my state.
    Voted, because without participation democracies fail.
    Voted to return the emphasis back to working Americans, and away from the wealthy few that have prospered under yet another 'trickle down' administration.
    Voted to undo the damage of the past 8 years.

    November 4, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  7. Erin

    While I was touched by the story, did anyone in the family think that if they had voted four or eight years earlier, we wouldn't be in such a mess? Maybe the man in the story would be alive. While you may not have loved every candidate in previous elections, your vote does matter, as evident by Florida 2000.

    November 4, 2008 at 5:43 pm |
  8. Pamela

    I voted because my twin sister voted for McCain and I felt I needed to cancel out her vote and I voted for Obama to tip the scales back in his direction. I had never really been interested in the elections because in Indiana my vote is usually drowned out by the opposing campaign. I did vote last time because I didn't want another 4 years of war with Bush alas this state voted for him anyway. But this is a feel-good election and definitely wanted to be a part of this one. I was very proud when I saw Obama's name and selected it. I believe this state will come through and see how McCain will dig us in deeper in his Bush ways and instead go Obama. I can't bear the thought of the possibility of incapable Palin "trying" to lead our country either. So when I knew my twin sister was voting McCain/Palin I knew I had to negate that right away.


    November 4, 2008 at 5:38 pm |

    Why am I voting? Because as a child my mother would take me into the booth with her and sometimes let me pull the lever she pointed out. At the same time she would explin to me that voting was a right in ths country and that thousands had died over the years so I could have that right. She also explained that for every right there is a responsibility and my resonsibility was to find out what each candidate stood for,,to think and weight theoptions, make a decision and never never vote straight party, but vote for the person I felt would do the best job. Guess that's why I registered Independent and why I voted Obama. I remember back in the 60's a comic saying vote for the Kennedy of your choice, but VOTE! and I say to you vote for the candidate of your choice, but VOTE<>VOTE!!!!!

    November 4, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  10. sharon from Indy

    Voted because I can. For 32 years I have voted for presidents, Congressmen, governors and school board members. I don't feel I have a voice unless I vote.

    Maybe this is a new beginning for this country. Voting can actually make changes begin.

    November 4, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  11. Ron

    God bless him and every Vet that served our country, especially the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice. We could never thank them enough!
    It was an honor for me to cast my vote for a former POW today.

    November 4, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  12. Gina

    I voted because there was time when gender and race determined if there was a right to vote.

    I would be ashamed to pass up my opportunity to vote since I know about the Women's Sufferage Movement and the Civil Rights Movements. It is my right and my obligation.

    November 4, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
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