Americans visiting New York weigh in on the election
Without sounding cliché: the electricity of the 2012 election is in the air at the legendary 30 Rockefeller Center in New York. This is the home of NBC News and, today, Democracy Plaza. And because this is New York, there are a lot of tourists mingling with locals. The tourists at Democracy Plaza are from all over America and they’re politically aware, interested, and opinionated. How couldn’t they be?
One of the tourists I talked to was an elderly Florida-native named Lauren. Old Floridian women are a target for both presidential candidates considering how important Florida is this — and every — election. Lauren filled out an absentee ballot once before, but she did it this year, too. Lauren was in favor of Obama, saying she thought “we’re on the right track.” New York City is a spot where Lauren would find many in agreement with her due. New York, especially New York City, leans heavily Democratic. But in her hometown of Florida, she might find more people in disagreement.
Next I was able to discuss the election with Susan Levin, a not-so-lengthy traveler coming only from New Jersey. Levin was hoping to be able to travel to Philadelphia to manage polling but was prevented from doing so after Hurricane Sandy. For Levin, managing polls is “just making sure that things are done legally, that people who want to vote have the right to vote.” Levin is a volunteer at polling and managing voting booths, which means she is a major supporter of the fundamentals of voting and how all people, especially young ones should vote. She believes that for young people, “The first thing they should do when they’re eligible is register to vote,” Levin told me. “I think it’s one of the most important things we can do as citizens.”
Christopher N. is a young person, but a young person that is not yet able to vote. But that doesn’t mean he’s not interested in the 2012 election. Christopher is touring the city with his parents, all the way from Hawaii, and is only 10 years old. “It’s really cool,” Christopher said about the election.
He was also impressed with NBC’s huge Democracy Plaza setup for the election. So were a lot of other tourists. They seemed to be amazed by the high-tech set-up for the election, which includes a big state-by-state chart that is placed on the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center. This chart will fill each state in with red or blue based on whether Obama or Romney wins that state.
The tourists at 30 Rockefeller Center were amazed by the election itself, too. But no matter what happens, tourists will return to this plaza tomorrow. And my guess is, no matter who wins, the feeling in the air will be of a very different atmosphere.
—Kid Reporter Fred HechingerPhoto: A panaromaic view of the ice rink area of Rockefeller Center set up for Democracy Plaza. (Dante A. Ciampaglia/Scholastic)