The First Baptist Church on East Haggard Avenue in Elon hardly saw the chaotic hustle and bustle typical of Election Day. Unlike some of the early voting days in Alamance County, there were no lines out the door, and no hour-long waits. Before lunch time, voters could get in and out of the polls in about 20 minutes—or even quicker, if they knew exactly whom they wanted in office.
But not everyone at the polls today had already made decisions about every race before showing up to vote. Elon University sophomore Lauren Speranza campaigned all morning for Dan Forest, who is running for lieutenant governor, and said she hadn’t expected some people to still be undecided.
“Our job is to get to each individual voter, especially as they come up to the polls,” she said. “Surprisingly, not everyone has made up their mind when they get here.
She, other campaigners and even candidates themselves, like Katie Overby, greeted voters as they walked up to the polling center and thanked people for taking the time to head to the polls and take their civic responsibilities seriously. Some campaigners handed out guide sheets for those interested in voting a straight ticket, because not every local position is a partisan one.
Most voters willing to share their opinions said jobs and the economy were vote-deciding issues for them, and they supported Mitt Romney for president and Pat McCrory for North Carolina governor.
“If you judged the candidates based on their previous results, Mitt Romney has run a successful capitalist venture company,” said sophomore Ryan Hodges, also campaigning for Forest. He and Speranza were required to help with campaigns as part of a political science class. “If I’m looking at the last four years of American under President Obama, things are just getting worse and we’re getting to the point where I don’t think we’d be able to recover after another four years.”
Don Jefferson, a 79-year-old Elon resident, said honesty was the most important issue for him in this election. He would not say whether he voted for President Barack Obama, but he said he thought Mitt Romney was a liar.
“He has no scruples, among other things that you can’t say in public,” Jefferson said. “Listen to the commercials. When he comes up there and he says, ‘The auto industry, you never should have done that, I wouldn’t have done that,’ and then he turns around and says, ‘Well that was my idea.’”
All surveyed voters said they were more interested in the national election than the local and North Carolina state races. One Elon student, junior Dave Stone, said he didn’t recognize any of the local names on the ballot and thought voting for the “head honcho” was most important.
“I actually just picked who I thought had the funniest or best name, locally,” he said.
Beth Nall, a retired Alamance County teacher, said she finds the national election to be of greater importance, too. She said she really wants to see some change from the past four years and she hoped Romney would be able to offer that.
“We need a change,” she said. “We’ve already had four years of the other, so I think something new might be invigorating, especially for you young folks out there. I think change is good and hopefully that’ll happen.”
Whatever happens tonight, whether Romney or Obama takes North Carolina or the whole race, Nall said it’s important just for people to use their voices in the electoral process.
“I just think it’s important that we all have our say and we all have our vote and this is your one and only chance so I think if you don’t try to fix the problems, or at least express your opinion through a vote, you really have not done your duty,” she said. “And it is a privilege.”