Scores of polarized voters waited patiently if passionately yesterday for the chance to have their say on whether US President George W. Bush will get a second term in the White House.
At 6:30am, in a queue that snaked far out the door of a church community center just outside Columbus, the capital of Ohio, a potentially crucial swing state, Deborah Scott, a 29-year-old law clerk, began her hour-long wait to cast her ballot.
She said she was distressed that Senator John Kerry might win the US presidency.
"You might not agree with Bush, but at least you know where he stands," Scott said. "Kerry says he's going to do a lot of things, but he doesn't have a plan for anything.
"He can't possibly raise the money for all the things he wants to do," she said.
Shelley Orwick, 24, a university research assistant and a Kerry supporter, was upbeat about Kerry's chances, whom most surveys showed in a dead heat with Bush. Turnout is expected to be key to the outcome.
"I can't believe how many people there are in line. I didn't believe it when they said they were expecting record turnout. They say that every year and it never happens," she marveled.
Vicki Coyan, 22, a secretary and supporter of independent Ralph Nader, also showed firm commitment to her candidate.
"I'm voting later," Coyan said. "I know it's a close election but I didn't want to vote for a candidate I didn't believe in."
For Cindy Dequenne, 32, a nurse who has family who has served in Iraq, Bush support is a family affair.
"Kerry just gives me the creeps. I'm afraid Kerry is going to get elected which is why I'm here today," she said.
Asked about Bush's much-questioned handling of Iraq, Dequenne said: "I have to support him because my family is in the military, and I support whoever my family supports."