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About Witnessing History

As Barack Obama became the first black candidate to win the nation’s highest elected office, msnbc.com was on hand to document the thoughts and emotions of members of three generations of African-Americans. Click on the photos below to read a specific thread, or on the NBC logo to read field reports on the role of race in the election. Or you can scan the posts at right to read them in chronological order.

Validus Prep students

Students at Validus Prep, the Bronx, N.Y.

Tammy Baker

Tammy Baker, office worker, Nashville, Tenn.

Henry McGee Jr.

Henry McGee Jr., law professor, Seattle, Wa.


Field reports from NBC and affiliates

Get-out-the-vote surprise: No lines

Posted Tuesday, November 4 at 10:14 pm CT by Kari Huus
Filed under Nashville 5 comments—join the discussion


Steve Turner, center, coordinates volunteers in Nashville. (Jim Seida / msnbc.com)

Just hours before the polls closed, Steve Turner, 25, was still at it — dispatching volunteers to polling places where he anticipated long lines. He loaded water and snacks into car trunks for volunteers and voters waiting in the unseasonably warm weather November sun. A veteran of three elections, he instructed his team to make sure people in line were at the right precinct so they didn’t waste time waiting in the wrong line.

And, he urged volunteers to stand in for voters who had to answer the call of nature.

“Inevitably,” he told a group of volunteers for his get-out-the-vote organization, Voting Is Priceless,  "people will need to use the restroom. You can help by offering to hold their spot.”

Then came the surprise: There were no long lines.

At stop after stop in polling places around the city today, volunteers found quiet school gymnasiums and churches processing a few voters at a time.   

“It’s weird,” said Turner as the day wore on. “Normally on Election Day it would be a steady flow, and that’s not what we’re seeing.”

The city has had early voting for about a decade, but this year it proved extremely popular — accounting for around 50 percent of total registered voters. That alone was an impressive turnout for the city.

The lone exception appeared to be a polling place frequented by college students, many of whom waited until the last day to cast their votes.

Turners’ band of volunteers didn’t stop at this realization, but they did regroup — heading into key areas to canvass, making sure in the final hours of voting that they had left no stone unturned.

But in home after home he found people who said they had voted. On this day, at least, it appeared he had worked himself out of a job.


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