An insider’s look at Election Day activities

Michael Tracey: Democrat
by Kelli Plasket

Mike Tracey has been waiting for this day a long time. Tracey, junior political science major and vice president of the College Democrats, has been a supporter of Barack Obama since late 2006, long before he captured the democratic nomination.

“Out of the democratic candidates in the primaries, (Sen. Obama) really was a breath of fresh air,” Tracey said. “His background as a community organizer, constitutional law professor and civil rights attorney showed that he had the right judgment, character and experience.”

Tracey has been an active volunteer throughout Obama’s entire campaign, getting the opportunity to meet Michelle Obama, Sen. Joe Biden and Obama himself. Here’s how Tracey’s election day played out:

6:00 a.m.: Voting
Tracey started his day early by voting for Sen. Obama at his local polling place, Antheil Elementary School in Ewing, N.J. Poll workers there told Tracey that voter turnout had been higher than ever before even at the early hour. “It felt good to finally vote. I’ve waited a long time for this,” Tracey said.

7:30 a.m.: Volunteering
Tracey left Ewing after voting to volunteer for the Obama campaign in Pennsylvania, a major battleground state. Tracey monitored lines in South Philadelphia to make sure people didn’t get discouraged by long lines and leave without voting. “People seem to be in good spirits,” Tracey said of waiting voters.

1:00 p.m.: Phone Calls
Tracey canvassed in Northeast Philadelphia, where he made phone calls to ensure voters knew their polling locations and closing times and offered transportation to the polls. “Everyone is cautiously optimistic,” Tracey said. “We are just making sure we don’t let up now.”

5:30 p.m.: Polling Places
Tracey handed out literature at Philadelphia polling locations during the after-work rush. Everything ran smoothly, as there were enough polling locations to prevent major lines. “I convinced some people who didn’t want to vote to go vote,” Tracey said.

9:00 p.m.: Victory Party
Tracey returned to Ewing after the Pennsylvania polls closed to attend the College Democrats Victory Party in the T/W Main Lounge, where the more than 50 students in attendance were buzzing with excitement upon learning Obama had been declared the winner of battleground state Pennsylvania.

11:30 p.m.: Results
Tracey celebrated president-elect Obama’s victory with a crowd of emotional, happy students in the T/W Main Lounge, as McCain officially conceded. “It’s very strange that it actually happened, I almost don’t know how to put it into words,” Tracey said. “Everyone’s hard work culminated in this, and now we can finally celebrate.”

Terence Grado: Republican
by Matt Lawyue

For Terence Grado, senior political science and philosophy major and chairman of the New Jersey College Republicans, Election Day was a culmination of the countless hours spent campaigning for the Republican party.

“It is a dawn of a new time today. It’s a very important election. I think everyone can feel it. I certainly can,” he said.

Throughout the Garden State, Grado was heavily involved in aiding N.J. congressional leaders who were up for election. Here is how he spent this Election Day:

9:30 a.m.: Voting
Grado drove home the night before to vote in his hometown of West Milford, N.J. He arrived at the polls around 9 a.m. “There was a good amount of people there, more than most,” he said. “That was a good sign.”

11:45 a.m.: Phone Calls
After voting, Grado met up with Michael Bennett, the College Republican field representative. The duo drove to the Burlington County headquarters located in Mount Holly, N.J., where he made phone calls for about two hours urging citizens to vote for Republican candidate Chris Myers.

2:45 p.m.: More Phone Calls
Grado and Bennett headed over to the Republican Ocean County headquarters to work the phone lines. “Headquarters was packed,” he said. “It was very inspiring.”

5:30 p.m.: Last of the Phone Calls
Grado continued his day by driving to the headquarters of Sen. Leonard Lance in Green Brook, N.J.

7:15 p.m. : Hopeful “Victory Party”
Grado arrived at Sen. John McCain’s “victory party” in Hamilton, N.J. However, after news of Sen. Barack Obama’s wins in Pennsylvania and Ohio, hope began to diminish for Grado. “Now that Obama has taken Ohio, I won’t lie, I’m upset about it,” Grado said. He remained optimistic, however, that Lance would win.

10 p.m.: Presidential Defeat
Grado and Bennett made their way to Lance’s victory party, hoping for some better news there. Around 11 p.m., the Associated Press called the election for Obama, and at 11:34 p.m., McCain conceded the race. On a positive note, Grado’s efforts were successful as Lance won his race in the 7th Congressional District.

12 a.m.: Reaction
Grado expressed his diappointment. “What (McCain) was saying was the noble thing and the right thing to do,” Grado said. “It was just unfortunate. I think it’s going to usher in a drastic change for the worst. I’m going to greatly disagree with most of his stances on the issues. I’m just very upset. I can’t say that I didn’t see it coming, but I think it’s a travesty what happened tonight.”