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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Black voter: History in the making



As a mother of two young children with elderly grandparents - and as a black woman voting for the first time - Akilah Sanders said she saw Barack Obama as the best choice for president.

She said Obama's platform, including his health care promise, impressed her the most. But what excited her was the chance to be part of something big.

"It's going to be history if he wins," said Sanders, 21, of Midtown.

Sanders arrived at the Wildwood Recreation Center, 1000 28 St. S., at 7 a.m., and walked out just before 9 a.m. after casting her vote.Voting went smoothly: "It was just A,B,C," she said.

A line of about 100 people moved slowly past an aluminum sculpture of bodies in motion. Those who completed voting trickled out every few minutes. Marilyn Thomas, 59, had a big smile on her face. She voted for Obama as well, but said she was doing so because of his platform, not his race.

"I'm poor," she said. "I can't afford to think Republican."

Torio Lewis, 33, also black, said he was voting for the first time. An ex-convict, Lewis for years didn't know he had the right to vote. This year he got a card in the mail for the first time.

He was in line for 15 minutes when he walked toward his car, deciding he'd didn't know who to vote for in local elections. He was headed home to speak with his parents, and vowed to return by 10 a.m.

But there was no question about his choice for president.

"'I know Obama is a man of God," Lewis said.

Luis Perez, Times staff writer


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:39am]


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