The Washington Post

The election scene in the city, from polling places to neighborhoods

Rapping for Bowser

Chanel Fogle was dancing in the median island at Alabama Avenue and 25th Street SE with Karen Madison, leading a call-and-response with a go-go beat.

“If you want change!”

“You gotta to do that thing!”

“If you want change!”

“You got to do that thing!”

“Vote Muriel!”

“Vote Muriel!”

Ronnie Reed, a volunteer for Mayor Vincent C. Gray, stood nearby, not even trying to drown out the dancing women in bright green Bowser T-shirts.

But Marion Barry, the D.C. Council member who represents the ward that includes this median strip, is backing Gray, and he wasn’t about to let Bowser’s campaign volunteers have the last word.

He showed up about 2 p.m. and made a beeline for Fogle and Madison.

“Vote Gray!” Barry shouted, leaning against an iron fence for support.

“You all don’t even live in Ward 8! Vote Gray!”

Barry is in poor health and has been in and out of medical facilities for much of this year. On Tuesday, he needed help walking from place to place. But he campaigned from morning to night.

“He still got some spunk in him,” Madison said.

— Hamil R. Harris

Empty sidewalks

A crush of nearly 1,500 voters cast ballots for Vincent C. Gray at St. Timothy Episcopal Church on Alabama Avenue SE in 2010 — more than four times as many as voted for anyone else.

On Tuesday, Gray returned to the church polling station, in a quiet part of Ward 7 close to his home.

The sidewalk was almost empty.

Gray and his traveling band of supporters far outnumbered voters.

Some who eventually turned out at the church said they would vote for Gray. But not Nicole Brown, 55, an unemployed paralegal, who backed the mayor four years ago.

“I voted for the lady — Bowser,” Brown said.

— Aaron Davis

Love in Precinct 81

They’ve been running the polls together for 15 years. They’ve been married for 27.

Yvonne Garner, 62, is captain for Precinct 81, at Miner Elementary in Ward 6. Her husband, John, doubles as co-captain.

The atmosphere in the school’s gymnasium on Election Day was warmly familial, with folks greeting and hugging and catching up on what’s new.

And in the middle of it all, the Garners were making sure that the electronic voting machines had enough tape and that folks got a paper ballot if they wanted one.

“I want this to be a pleasant experience,” said Yvonne Garner, a former flight attendant who calls her fellow poll workers “her crew.”

“I’m a person who likes things orderly and neat, and I don’t want someone to be unhappy.”

She says she’s not going to volunteer much longer. After more than a decade, she’s tired and wants a break.

But John Garner isn’t sure.

“We complain about it,” he said. “But we’ll be down here again. It’s our civic duty.”

— Victoria St. Martin



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