"It's good to be back," said Shirley Arana, who went to elementary school at the mural-bedecked building off Moshulu Parkway. Now 21, Arana returned to her old stomping grounds with her mother to cast her very first vote. "I voted for Obama," she said with a smile. "I think my school would be proud."
Across the school's sun-filled hallway, Tamika Ross was not so enthusiastic about her vote.
"I'm worried it won't count," said Ross, 35, who was handed a paper ballot after a mix-up at the polling place left poll workers unable to locate her ballot.
After area redistricting sent some voters to an alternate polling site in Norwood, poll workers said they had prepared to send some away. "I memorized the new location for District 33," said poll worker Ivan Figueroa, who arrived at PS 8 at 5 am. "I think we've been able to help everyone get where they need to be."
But Ross, who announced to the line of waiting voters that the workers had mixed up voters' last and first names, said she was too flustered to vote.
Poll Worker Coordinator Cheryl Hibbitt said Ross was just causing trouble, however. "She didn't want to vote," she said to those in line. "We gave her a paper ballot and she said she was afraid it wouldn't count, so she left."
As another voter exited the hallway, she raised her hands in the air in relief. "I'm glad I got that over with," said Patricia Green, 62, as she scanned the growing line of voters. "I sure hope it counts."
Produced in cooperation with CUNY Graduate School of Journalism's NYC News Service.