The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Election 2008

November 5, 2008

Voters flock for chance to make history

Ninety percent turnout seen in area

MANKATO — slideshowClick here to see a photo gallery of images from across the nation of Election Day, 2008.



At St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church polling place in west Mankato early Tuesday, head election judge Walt Anderson observed the waiting crowds and summed up:

“This election is historic. There are very few people cool, calm and collected about this one.”

Voters in the Mankato area, Minnesota and the nation uttered a collective amen to that, turning out in record numbers and culminating with the election of the nation’s first black president. Area election officials estimated turnout at more than 90 percent.

Cory Helland, 23, of Mankato, was voting in his second presidential election.

“I was 18 last time I voted — fresh out of high school, so it didn’t affect me that much per se.”

This time around, though, he said he’s paid a lot more attention to the issues.

“This election is exciting. There’s an aura of change about it.”

Antoine Underwood almost missed his chance to vote for Barack Obama.

The black Minnesota State University student and his two white roommates

had to prove they were residents before they could vote at Taylor Center.

After some hassle, they found a computer and printed out one of their utility bills. That did the trick.

Underwood’s roommates, Jake Cooney and Brady Schloesser, said they also were voting for Obama.

“All presidential elections are big, but this one is really controversial,” Cooney said.

Underwood said Obama’s race had nothing to do with his decision at the polls although, he added, it was a historic election.

“I’m just voting the way I did because of the war and the economy,” Underwood said.

Mankatoan Jeff Schulz knew there was a red and blue split across the country, but what he didn’t realize until late Tuesday is that there’s a purple line running through his living room.

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