Thursday, October 25, 2012

President Obama Votes Early In Chicago

First sitting president to cast a ballot early, according to the Campaign...
President Obama zoomed to Chicago on Thursday afternoon to make a public show of voting early in his hometown.  It was his third stop on the second day of the America Forward! marathon, and he was clad in a dark suit as he arrived at the Martin Luther King Community Center, an early vote location in the ward that covers the Kenwood neighborhood that includes the Obama family home. Accompanied by a crowd of media and local officials, the President made a show of casting his ballot at about 4:20 PM local time, after showing ID. 

"I'm honored to be the first sitting President who has ever early voted," President Obama said.

The campaign is banking votes ahead of Nov. 6, and Mr. Obama was leading by example.  He was required to show his ID to officials before he stepped into the voting booth, and took his drivers license out of his wallet.

 "Now ignore the fact that there's no gray hair on that picture," President Obama joked to the giggling woman who checked him in.  "I'm just glad I renewed my driver's license."

After signing forms, he stepped into the booth and punched his choices into a touch-screen machine. Fellow voters stopped pretending they were actually voting, and instead snapped photos of America's most famous voter with their camphones.  His mission accomplished, the President afterwardsmade a pitch for early voting to the media gathered to watch:

“For all of you who have not yet early voted, I just want everybody to see what an incredibly efficient process this was thanks to the outstanding folks who are at this particular polling place. Obviously folks in Illinois can take advantage of this. But all across the country we’re seeing a lot of early voting. It means you don’t have to figure out whether you need to take time off work, figure out how to pick up the kids and still cast a ballot. If something happens on election day you will have already taken care of it. If it’s bad weather you won’t get wet. Or in Chicago, snowy. But this was really convenient. I can’t tell you who I voted for. But I very much appreciate everybody here. It’s good to be home back in the neighborhood.”

The campaign rapidly put out a video encouraging early voting:

After his historic minutes in the ballot box, the President stopped at a nearby OFA field office at the corner of Harper Ave. and Hyde Park Blvd.  He greeted volunteers and called supporters.

On the flight aboard a baby version of Air Force One between Chicago and his next stop in Cleveland Ohio, he spoke to close to 10,000 supporters via conference call, according to aides.

*Obama for America photo