“Good morning, baby,” security guard Mary Taylor cooed to a little girl in a burgundy-and-gray uniform who held her mother’s hand as they entered J.O. Wilson Elementary School.
Her voice changed as a stranger wearing a suit walked in.
“Voting today?” she asked politely. “Right this way.”
Taylor, 63, went to J.O. Wilson, at 6th and K streets NE, and has watched over its students from the front desk for more than 15 years. She used to live two blocks up the street. Back then, everyone knew everyone. But not anymore.
Most of the voters Tuesday morning were white. Ninety-five percent of the children in the school are not.
Taylor said she didn’t have strong feelings about any of the candidates. She can’t vote here anymore, anyway. The neighborhood got too expensive a few years back. She moved to Waldorf, Md., a long drive south.
Alyssa Denzer remembers how proud she felt as a youngster, joining her mother in the voting booth.
It’s why she brought her 20-month-old son, Dashiell, to the polls at the Takoma Education Campus in Ward 4 in Northeast Washington on Tuesday afternoon.
“It was way more fun when you got to flip the lever,” said Denzer, 40. “He likes the stickers though.”
Marilyn Lockwood, a retired pediatrician, used Tuesday’s Democratic primary as an opportunity to teach a civics lesson to her grandsons, ages 8 months and 2. They were buckled into a double stroller, and the infant slept through most of her explanations. But the toddler was wide awake.
“I just told them, ‘It’s very important,’ ” said Lockwood, 76. “I want to give them a good start in life, and learning to vote is one of those things.”
“If you’re looking for a Vincent Gray fan,” said Alonzo Davis, 63, a lifelong resident of Ward 6 who was walking into Watkins Elementary School to vote, “it’s sure not me.”
Davis said he didn’t think much of Gray when he headed the D.C. Department of Health and Human Services. And he thinks even less of him now.
His wife, Cynthia Davis, is outraged that Gray hasn’t made any comment about Relisha Rudd, the missing homeless girl who has been on the minds of so many city residents the past couple of weeks.
And she’s not convinced that Gray is innocent of the corruption charges that have engulfed Jeffrey E. Thompson and several of the mayor’s close associates.
She raised her voice to be heard over a silver SUV that was rounding the corner, blasting the Jackson 5. Suddenly the sidewalk was crowded with blue shirts. And clad in a blue shirt and cap was Gray himself.
Voting for him would leave the city in an uproar, Cynthia Davis said in disgust.
“And we’d be voting again, because he’ll be indicted.”