Voters turn out for Election Day
Although more than half the Douglas County electorate cast ballots early this year, voters still turned out in droves Tuesday morning, with lines forming outside some polling places before 7 a.m.
On voters’ minds were issues ranging from the economy and job creation to women’s rights and the protection of constitutional freedoms.
In Douglas County, where Republicans outnumber Democrats 2-1, many voters expressed discontent with the incumbent president.
“There’s so much at stake. I was apathetic when I was younger, and now with a voting child of my own, it took on a different meaning to me,” Marypat Jones said outside East Fork Fire Station No. 7 in the Gardnerville Ranchos. “I’ve never experienced the way the election has been this year. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the mudslinging, and the dirty politics. It was almost too much.”
Jean Rey, 61, said the integrity of the White House was just as important as the economy and jobs.
“I don’t like the direction the country is going in. Romney will bring back the respect the office deserves, and he will turn the country around,” Rey said. “He has the ability to work across the aisle, and actually follow the Constitution.”
Kathy Duffy said she voted for the candidate who best aligned with her values.
“Mitt Romney has Christian values,” the 54-year-old said. “I believe that he’s a good businessman, and he’s going to bring back our economy in full force.”
Jobs and the economy were also important for 51-year-old Craig Lind.
“It’s an important election this year with the job issue and the economy issue needing to be addressed,” he said. “I’m going for whom I feel is more sincere, and has a passion for this country.”
Outside Fire Station No. 2 in downtown Gardnerville, Michael McQuain, 38, explained the meaning of “We The People” printed on his voting sticker to his 7-year-old daughter.
“She was curious all week as to how voting works, and I need her to understand that people died for this right. There are men in our family in the service who protected this right,” the proud father said. “I feel like I accomplished something important today.”
Gardnerville Elementary second-grader McKenna was also proud to help her father in the voting process.
“I read a book about elections at my school,” she said. “It was cool I got to help make decisions.”
Annette Philips, 52, said voting was important to decide which way the country should go.
“I don’t see anything good coming of another four years like the last four years,” she said. “Romney’s got the history. He knows business. I owned my own business so I understand that.”
For 25-year-old Shawn Salazar, abortion and protecting constitutional freedoms were important issues in his second presidential election.
“I’m not one of those people who believes he’s (Romney) going to save us from everything,” Salazar said, “but I think he can do a better job than Obama because Obama’s done absolutely nothing.”
He also stressed the importance of younger people getting involved in the election.
“We’re the future, and if we don’t pay attention we’ll lose our freedoms,” he said. “My grandfather fought in World War II for our freedom, and now we have a president who doesn’t give a hoot about our freedoms.”
At the CVIC Hall in downtown Minden, 69-year-old Vietnam vet Jack Burry cast a ballot for the first time in more than four decades.
“I haven’t voted since Vietnam,” said the Minden resident. “I regret every minute of it.”
Burry was a boiler tender, third class petty officer, for a guided-missile destroyer.
“Just maybe I’m getting older and think my voice will be heard finally,” he said. “There’s a lot to say about getting old.”
Burry said his top concerns on Election Day were “getting the economy going and protecting our border.”
“I’m still working, and I want other people to have jobs and be working, too,” he said.
As a vet, Burry was also concerned about continued conflict overseas.
“As far as war, Vietnam was an awful war, and I see Afghanistan as similar,” he said. “We need to protect our interests by going full-force. We’re too lenient on the bad guys.”
Burry’s 54-year-old wife, Cheryl, said she voted to make a change.
“I want to be a voice and help to see our economy stimulated more. That’s what everyone needs,” she said.
She said she’s proud to have a half-dozen family members currently serving in the military.
“We want everyone to be as lucky as we are,” she said. “We still have jobs.”
Minden resident Gretchen Bonner, 31, showed up to the polls with her 2-year-old daughter, Stella.
“I’m still conflicted. It’s a crapshoot,” she said. “I absolutely wouldn’t be able to complain later if I didn’t vote.”
Bonner said her conflict arose from simultaneous concerns about women’s rights and the economy.
“Most important is my family, my body, and the money we make,” she said. “I want to protect the little bundle we have.”
Stella was wearing pink boots as she accompanied her mother to voting machines.
“You’re never too young to see democracy in action,” Bonner said.
At East Fork Volunteer Fire Station No. 6 on Stephanie Way, Saratoga Springs Connie Lindstrom, 65, said she was determined “to see the correct person get into office.”
“I’ve been voting since I was 17,” she said. “Where I’m from, Kentucky, you could vote the same year you turned 18.”
Lindstrom said balancing the federal budget was the main issue driving her choices.
“We have to get rid of extra spending that we don’t need,” she said. “We shouldn’t spend what we don’t have.”
At 21, Sam Schnorbus was a young face at the polls. He’d ridden his BMW street bike to the fire station.
“We need a change,” he said. “Foremost is the economic stuff. Unemployment is a big deal. A lot of people don’t have a job as good as mine.”
Schnorbus tests wheelchairs for Beneficial Designs in Minden. Besides economics, he said social issues played a role in his decision.
“I’m pro-life,” he said. “This country needs morality brought back.”
Like many voters, Schnorbus was happy to know that incessant campaigning would be coming to an end.
“I’m done with the commercials – that’s for sure,” he said. “Hopefully, this election will change things. I don’t think any more campaigning will help at all.”