New York City is heavily Democratic and Senator Barack Obama is
expected to do well Tuesday in the city and throughout the state. VOA's
Margaret Besheer talked to voters outside a polling center in Harlem
and files this report.
In this traditionally African American
and Hispanic enclave, many voters say they hope this will be an
historic vote and the country's first black president will be elected.
voters said they cast their ballots early this morning, but at mid-day
the line outside this community center, which is this neighborhood's
polling station, barely extended outside the front door.
year old Carmen, who happened to be walking by, says she was in line to
vote at 5:30 this morning - a half hour before the polls opened.
She says she voted for Barack Obama and for what she hopes will be real
"We need it [change]," said Carmen. "Especially the
poor people. We really need it. It has been eight hard years, we can't
get another four. Impossible."
For many young African Americans
in this mostly lower income neighborhood, Barack Obama's candidacy
represents not just hope for this country, but also for them
Thomas, 36, is a graphic designer. "Now when your
grandmother tells you that, baby you can be the president of the United
States, hey, you don't have to look at her doubtful now," he said. "You
can say it is the truth."
But Joshua, another young African American man, points out that part of Obama's appeal is that he transcends racial lines.
also proves a lot to how many black people are behind Barack Obama, but
also how many white people are behind Barack Obama - that's also a
startling change that a lot of black people notice," he said.
also credited Obama's candidacy for encouraging those who had not been
engaged in the electoral process before to become involved.
is exciting to see so many people engaged in the electoral process," he
said. "It is exciting to see people that were feeling disenfranchised
or feeling that they weren't part of the process, exercising their
American right to vote."
Voters in Harlem say they worry about
the same issues that concern most other Americans - the economy, jobs,
their retirement savings and the war in Iraq.
They say they are ready for change on a big-scale, and they hope Barack Obama will be the man to deliver it.