November 4th, 2008
10:01 AM ET

Voting in Norfolk: Standing room only

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/04/art.vote.signs.jpg]Joe Johns | Bio
CNN Correspondent

I really wasn't ready for what I saw when I pulled up a little bleary-eyed at Richard Bowling Elementary School in Norfolk.

It was pouring rain, and the polls weren't set to open for another 30 minutes or so.

There was no place to park.
Standing room only on the sidewalk.
Umbrellas, raincoats, hoodies.

There was a line of 200 to 300 people waiting for the polls to open so they could vote.

And through the morning it stayed steady.

We're talking about 18-year-olds and senior citizens, students and retired people. People headed to work.

So many of them were talking about history – many wanted to see Barack Obama the first black president.

One man said the rain wasn't bothering him but I think he was in the minority.

Interesting to find out how the new voters got registered.

– The DMV;
– Somebody walking through the neighborhood at the last minute;
– One guy, 23 years old, said people on campus at Norfolk State got him registered.

This was a pro-Obama crowd.

I asked one man and woman if they ever thought they'd see the day when a black man was on a major presidential ticket.

Both said no, one of them adding, "I never thought I'd see the day but it's here. It's here."

Filed under: 2008 Election • Barack Obama • Joe Johns • Raw Politics
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Sharon Kitchen

    Hope carries us all.

    Go Obama/Biden '08

    November 4, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  2. Michelle

    I just came back from voting in the city of Chesapeake. One of the
    cities that make up the Hampton Roads area in Virginia. It was a
    2 hour wait. My brother talked to a friend in Norfolk and he says
    you are so on about standing room only. Without a doubt this
    election will be a record breaker.

    November 4, 2008 at 12:47 pm |
  3. John B

    Bravo America for getting out there to vote. The world is watching you and so far you have done yourself proud regardless of the outcome. When a country sends their brave soldiers to fight and die for democracy, then you had better turn out and vote at home.

    Richmond Hill,
    Ontario Canada

    November 4, 2008 at 11:51 am |
  4. Siege in Atlanta

    As a Christian I find it necessary to be a Democrat and Barack Obama represents the morals and goodness of my particular faith,
    without excluding those of other faiths. I will wait in line as long as it takes through any type of weather as soon as my Republican employer lets me off work--probably my usual 5 pm!

    This is a great day in our history and as I read about what
    people are willing to go through to vote I know it's Barack Obama who has revived our hope in this once great nation-We Will Be GREAT Again!! Yes, we can!!!!

    November 4, 2008 at 11:14 am |
  5. Max

    THAT is amazing – I am not sure people in Canada would wait in too many lines to vote for anyone.

    Just a guess.

    November 4, 2008 at 10:44 am |
  6. Wijitha Wijesekera

    I'm a Sri Lankan, living in Saudi Arabia. I'd love to see an Obama Victory – he gives us hope while McCain instills fear and hatred in our hearts. We feel that Obama is accessible and approachable; and that he understands what the rest of the world is going through. Only Obama can bring about Change, only he can uplift the "American Image" around the world. The world loves Obama, we sincerely hope the Americans would, too.

    November 4, 2008 at 10:40 am |
  7. james

    i don't understand american politics. you have 100s of millions to campaign and promote the canidates, but not enough money to have polling stations where you can walk straight in and vote. to wait hours to express you democratic right.... is wrong

    i think you should point your cameras at polling stations where the lines are short and then where the lines and long and compare the demographic. i have a feeling in west palm beach or hollywood ca, they don't line up very long

    a canadian

    November 4, 2008 at 10:25 am |
  8. Kristen-University Park, PA

    Fantastic. Today is going to be very exciting. I look forward to hearing more stories about people at the polls.

    November 4, 2008 at 10:07 am |