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Two Minneapolis polls offer lively, diverse scenes

Lines started early this morning at a public housing polling place off Minnehaha and Franklin avenues in Minneapolis.

Voter Diane Richard said she waited over an hour and a half to vote. She said there were many new citizens who came from Africa in line who had tears in their eyes over their excitement about voting for the first time.

At Marcy Open School in Minneapolis, meanwhile, Kathy Hansen, a professor at the University of Minnesota, says she also found long lines and an “incredibly diverse group,” especially compared with where she used to vote in Woodbury.

Hansen describes the scene:

“College students with their backpacks reading their texts while they were waiting, business people, young African-American men and women, a Somali family (dad, pregnant mom and three little ones in tow), elderly women with their walkers.”

And there was some excitement at Hansen’s polling station. One man apparently fainted while waiting in line to vote.

“A poll worker immediately came to his aid and got him a chair,” says Hansen. “He came to and said he had felt faint before but had never actually fainted. The poll worker kept asking him if he wanted the school nurse and he said no — he wanted to stay in line.”

Hansen also reports she saw many people trying to register.

At least one young man ran into trouble. Even though he had a rent agreement and a student ID, he was told he had to have someone vouch for his residence since he didn’t have a utility bill or other official piece of mail because he had just moved.

“One man behind him said he would vouch for him,” says Hansen. “But when the poll worker asked if the man would swear that he knew where the young man lived, he had to say no. The young man was crestfallen as he left the polling place.”

On the way home, with her “I voted” sticker in hand, Hansen saw seniors being loaded into a minivan with a big Obama sign on it that was clearly providing rides to and from the school.

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