9:15pm: As Obama's acceptance speech neared its end, I tried to make my exit, anticipating a mass exodus. Instead, I had to wedge my way out through hundreds of people still trying to make their way in. Each of the sets of double glass doors in front of the Century Plaza had building engineers leaning against them, trying to keep out the masses pressing in from the other side.
8:39pm: Shortly before NBC, CNN and other networks projected Obama as the next President, Eric Garcetti took the stage at the Century Plaza and asked everyone to hug each other on all the hard work everyone has done. "It's no longer 'yes we can,' its now 'yes we did!" Garcetti told the crowd.
Local, state and national politics
The crowd, of course, went crazy. Many wiped away tears. Others just grinned ear to ear, their eyes peeled to the screens showing the growing electoral count projections.
But all is not celebratory - an inital 2% of California precincts have reported in with some Proposition numbers showing 54% are for passing Proposition 8. Click here for updated results.
6:50pm: The crowds here at the Century Plaza Hotel are quickly growing already, even though the announced opening isn't for another hour. I would anticipate possibly hundreds, maybe even thousands, of disappointed Obama supporters who'll be turned away from a packed ballroom.
Large cheers erupt each time they hear another state for called for Obama from the assorted monitors in the ballroom or phonebank.
5:35pm: David Dayen at Calitics is hearing that "turnout is up in LA County and down a touch in Orange County." He's also been reporting on a robocall using Barack Obama's voice pushing for Proposition 8, possibly to deceive voters into believe Obama is for the anti-gay marriage bill.
At 3pm, LAist reported that 50% of eligible Los Angeles voters had gone to the polls.
Los Angeles City Council and Obama Superdelegate Eric Garcetti is phonebanking for a bit before the big party, making calls to Colorado. He tells me on the Presidential race he's cautiously optimistic.
4:00pm: Forgot to mention a visit to a Culver City poll, where lines were long but moved through voters in 30 minutes. The poll director said earlier in the day the wait was as long as 90 minutes. At least 15 people there had to use provisional ballots - one said they registered at the last minute, and was a little disappointed she couldn't cast a "real" vote... although provisional ballots are real votes.
2:30pm: Just gained a press pass to the large Obama event at the Century Plaza hotel. Ironically, as I was handed my credential I bumped into the same Obama office guy who'd turned me down in Culver City.
The volunteer staff here is very friendly, sharing with me stories from phone banking in Culver City. They tell me a ton of celebrities even showed up to make calls, none using their full names. Eliza Dushku, Kal Penn, Adrien Grenier, Stephen Webber, Tim Daly, and Orlando Bloom, who was simply making phone calls introducing himself, "Hi, this is Orlando from the Barack Obama campaign..."
A staffer here tells me Ryan Phillipe is upstairs phonebanking right now...
12:30pm: Note to self: buy business cards. Neither the Obama or McCain campaign offices on Motor Ave. in Culver City would let me take pix inside their headquarters without something identifying myself as an official writer. Offers to show them this post, online here, were declined, citing a concern of potential shenanigans from both sides.
I did bump into McCain supporters outside of the McCain HQ - the first time I'd seen any in Los Angeles. The three young Westside residents didn't bite, and were in high spirits. It seems every fifth car passing by is honking in support. Only a few people have tossed stuff at them, they say, usually water bottles, but none have hit their target.
11:10am: The Starbucks I'm posting this from is much more packed than usual due to their offer of free coffee for anyone who says they voted. While offering free stuff in exchange for voting (or not voting) is technically illegal, Starbucks isn't requiring anyone to show proof, and I've heard them gladly giving a cup of joe to customers simply asking for "the free coffee."
Other places offering freebies: Krispy Kreme is giving away a star spangled donut, Amoeba Music in Hollywood has $2 gift certificates, and the Pink Taco is offering shots of tequila. LA Metblogs has a rundown.
10:20am: On my way to the Obama HQ in West L.A., I spotted a car which had hopped a curb right beside the staging area for SEIU (Service Employees Union) nand Mark Ridley-Thomas canvassers. The driver apparently had just received her license a month before, and the police on hand were quick to point out it was not connected to politics.
SEIU Director of Communications Elizabeth Brennan pointed out canvassers weren't worrying too much about getting voters to vote Obama, but expressed concern about Prop 8's split, echoing what I've been hearing from No On Prop 8 proponents I've run across this past week.
8:20am: Around 120 Hollywood residents stood in line outside of St. Thomas Episocopal Church before the doors opened for voting at 7am, many with coffee in hands. At the front of the line was lawyer Tom Borcher, who had been voting at this same location since 1988 and had shown up today at 6am. He told me he preferred voting in a booth, it was more personal, over using a mail in ballot.
At 7am on the dot, the doors opened with voting staff calmly seperating voters into different lines.