Voter voices from Columbia and Boone County

Tuesday, November 4, 2008 | 8:09 p.m. CST; updated 8:15 p.m. CST, Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"For me, being 20 years old and young, it's important for us to vote and make a change. If something happens we don't, want we can't get mad about it if we don't vote."

— Mariaha Dudley, 20, babysitter

"I came out because it is my right to vote. Today of all days, with this important election, as a black American it is important to get out and vote. Too many black Americans lost their lives for us to get to this point."

— Jackie Shavers, 28, unemployed due to disability

"Nowhere else in the country do you see your vote counting like Missouri this year. It really, really makes a difference. Every vote makes a difference. It could be within a few votes that a candidate wins in Missouri. If I was in a clearly red or blue state right now, there would not be the enthusiasm and excitement because the reality is that your vote doesn't matter that much if it is a very clear red or blue state. It is going to go in that direction no matter what. In Missouri, nobody knows what's going to happen today, and that's exciting."

"I think that Proposition A is important, and unfortunately that one will probably pass because people don't really realize what the issue is. They think it's great that education gets money, but they don't realize where the money is coming from. I don't think that money should come out of the pockets of gambling addicts to support education."

— Mara Arguete, 41, professor at Lincoln University

"This election is historic. It's one of a kind. We'll either get a black man as president or a female vice president. That's never happened before."

— Clifton Stafford, 52, unemployed due to disability

"The guy I really disapprove of is (state Senate candidate Chuck) Graham. The reason being, how can he make a law if he's breaking them? If I got a DWI, they'd take my license. If he gets a DWI, he can't get his license taken away."

— Darrell Jones, 50, retired

"I really like Proposition C. I'm all about clean energy. I think it's really important to ... basically not use as much of the natural resources and use renewable energy."

— Jody Coats, 24, works for Missouri Department of Conservation

 "I feel strongly about Proposition A because of education. I don't know what happened to the first funding from the casinos, but if this would increase it, I'm all for it, because we need more money for education, from early childhood to university."

— Peg Putnam, 64, sales

"The presidential election is what really brought me out to the polls today. This has been a really rough eight years. The last election was just heartbreaking for me. Just the way that it went, it seemed like the people didn't get who they chose to be president, so I think it's just really important to come out and vote."

"For the Judy Baker and Blaine Luetkemeyer election, neither one of them were choices I was comfortable with, so I ended up going with the Libertarian because I felt neither one of them was what I wanted."

— Cynder Jones, 35, cook for Jamaican Jerk Hut and student at Moberly Area Community College

"I'm handing out fliers for Peter Kinder for lieutenant governor. They're mainly intended for students, just pointing out Peter Kinder and Sam Page's views on scholarships, tuitions and all the funding for students. ... The lieutenant governor election is certainly not governor or president, but at the same time it's one of the bigger ones considering everything that's on the ballot. I'm going to vote for Hulshof when I'm done here, but all the polls suggest Nixon could run away with it. I think it's important as a Republican that I vote for Kinder just so at the state level there's a Republican near the top."

— Eric Hobbs, 21, MU business management student

"I wanted to vote to change the economy and high gas prices. ... I think this election is important because we have a lot of baby boomers getting ready to retire. I think they depend on this election because certain aspects depend on if they are going to get Social Security or not."

— Andrea Robinson, 18, Columbia College student

"I really don't like Jay Nixon. He's very corrupt. I don't like underhanded politics. You need to win because of your views, not because you can trash-talk better. You're running a country or a state, you're not playing a football game."

— Britany Candler, 18, Columbia College student

 "I think it's going to be a close election. McCain and Palin were able to get a good demographic of the elderly and the evangelicals. I don't want a religious state, I want young change because that's what we need. ... As someone who's studying economics, I recognize that in the history of time, government has always screwed up the economy by tampering with it, so I guess you could kind of call me conservative in that sense. I didn't really vote with the economy in mind, even though it seems to be a major issue here. I voted more because of the social changes and social values that either president represents."

— Kevin Cordia, 22, student at MU

"I'd like to see Hulshof be governor. He's my neighbor. ... Obama ... he's a frightening man. I don't trust him, and that goes down the Democratic lines. There are good Democrats, but I don't like the way they're all riding his coattails."

— Bill Brooks, 77, salesman

"I think voting for Judy Baker is key. Getting her into Congress is important to me. ... I'm totally against the English-only amendment. I think it's foolish and a waste of time."

— Ene Chippendale, 67, small business owner

"There are so many other things that necessitate concern. To legislate English only seems like such a minute point."

— Megan Pittman, 26, MU Athletics Department employee

"I'm very interested in the governor's race. It's that it's this particular time, and there are personal attachments involved with Kenny Hulshof."

— Cliff Tompson, 78, retired MU physics professor

"I felt strongly about the governor's race. I was ready go vote against Kenny Hulshof, I guess."

— Ellen Wilson, 35, middle school teacher

"I was worried most about Proposition C. I was wanting to make sure it passed."

— Charles Frey, 26, student

"Proposition A was important to me because of more funding for higher education. More money is always a good thing, but it repeals the loss limit, so I was torn. ... For compulsive gamblers it can be a real problem, and it lets them get into debt more quickly."

— Danna Vessell, 40, director of education technology at MU

"I'm here for the president, governor, congressman and Proposition A. Those are the biggies."

— Doug Tanner, 55, medical technologist

"The only (issue) that stuck out was Proposition C, on renewable energy. I think that as the world turns away from oil that state-level initiatives help move it forward. It's a baby step in many ways."

— Nick Gage, 28, MU doctoral student

"Well, I think it has to do with ag. It's big in our state, and I think Hulshof is the only one who knows how to do that."

— Jeff Zimmerschied, 21, laborer

"We have an idiot for governor now, and we need a change. Blaine Luetkemeyer did introduce legislation to limit health care when he was in Jefferson City, so I wanted to make sure my vote counted."

— Cyndy Campbell, 56, insurance auditor

"The person I voted for believes in his country and the people who are in it, and I just believe in what he stands for. I liked what he offered more than the other guy."

— Carla Endecott, 56, unemployed due to disability

"The fact that I don't want to be in a socialist or Marxist country is what made me come out and vote. ... (Regarding Amendment 1), I do believe it should stay in English. I like that one. ... If you come here, you learn to speak English. If I go to Mexico, I take a refresher course. I think the same should go here. If you are going to live here you should speak our language."

— Cheryl Perry, 50, medical clerical worker

"I want to end the war in Iraq. The Bush doctrine was a bad excuse to start two wars. ... We should look into new resources and use the oil reserves we have right now. Then, maybe by the time we use the oil up, we will have those renewable resources."

— Lauren Vlasak, 21, MU student

"It's right at the presidency. The most important decision is right at the presidency."

— Allan Burdick, 88, retired MU professor of medical genetics

"The presidential election is the most important, because there are such contrasting choices."

— Henry Liu, 72, engineer

"I was so pleased at the number of young adults voting early in groups. These people on both sides who called and campaigned – it paid off. The political process is working."

— Nancy Roper, 53, physical therapist

"I think the presidential election is a joke because of the two-party system."

— Ryan Stonecipher-Fisher, 24, engineer

"This election has just been so crazy. Everything from the primaries until now. I really believe in Barack Obama, I believe in his cause. I'm a first-time voter, and this election has been so historical, and those are what drove me to the polls today."

"For one, him being the first African-American man to be running for the president of the United States. Taking the color away from it, it's just awesome that that's where we are as a society. There was a time when African Americans couldn't even vote, and women also. There is that element of progress that is underlined, seeing him on the ballot, and Sarah Palin also."

— Bianca Anderson, 21, MU communications student

"It's huge. Everybody is talking about it. The way the economy is now, it's huge that everybody gets out and votes. We need change, I believe. ... It's the first black guy that has a really good shot at being president, and the first woman running for vice president. I've never seen anybody this eager to go out and vote in any election since I was born."

— Matt LaVeille, 18, MU journalism student

"Me being an African American, a lot of people have worked hard to make sure that I have the right to vote. It's important to exercise that vote, because my opinion matters."

— Jawann Pollard, 22, MU chemical engineering student

"I think the presidential race is the most important to me. I've been watching it for two years. Unlike everyone else, I think the candidates are very different. America is going to change drastically, no matter who wins. I'm from California, but I registered here because I wanted to make a difference in a swing state."

— Janay Sanders, 18, MU student

"I came to vote because I think it's important to voice your opinion on issues that are affecting you, and if you have that opportunity, you should take it. It's my first election, so it's really exciting to voice my opinion. The most important issues to me are the economy and education. The economy is important because it isn't doing as well as we would hope for now, and it plays a huge role in people's lives. It's one of the issues that will be the most relative to me, and the issues I will be affected by the most. In regards to education, I'm a college student, and I want to see as many people offered the same opportunities as I have."

— Brittany Jadwin, 18, MU student

"Some of (the propositions and constitutional amendments) were really tricky. We had to research some of them to figure out what they were actually saying."

— Rhonda Woolsey, 51, artistic painter

"I went against the increase in the gambling law. The reason I went against that is because I think it would make more people homeless, hungry and would make the rich get richer, and I don't think the money goes to the schools like they say they do. ... People that's addicted to gambling will go into casinos and will lose money they don't have to lose."

— Larry Simms, 52, unemployed

"The lieutenant governor that I wanted in is not the same party of the governor I wanted in. I think it's important that if you split it, to get in here and do it."

— Vicki Cole, 39, unemployed

"We put up with eight years of Republicans and the CEOs that got us into this mess, sending our jobs overseas here in this country, and we should take care of the American people first."

— Leroy Brake, 70, retired construction and factory worker

"I really didn't feel well informed on any of the propositions to tell you the truth. The only one I heard anything about was Proposition A with the gambling and the casinos and possibly giving money to the education system. ... Sure that is important, but I don't know how realistic Proposition A is."

— Victori Pine, 29, MU graduate student

"I want a black president. ... That in itself represents a whole bunch of change and a whole bunch of flexibility that was not here that is here now. And just the opportunity to be able to go vote and then have somebody that looks just like me with the opportunity to win with a major opportunity to win. That's why I voted."

— William Spencer, 25, construction worker

"I think the money issue probably was a big factor, and I think that if McCain had the same amount of money as Obama it would probably be closer than it is probably going to be. Kenny Hulshof has a good message, but again, he didn't have the money that Nixon had either."

— Jeff Guinn, 51, business broker

"I like to complain about decisions government makes that I don't agree with, and I think I forgo that license if I don't go out and vote, become part of the process."

— Mark Hughes, 50, adviser to the chairman of the Missouri Public Service Commission

"I thought I should come out and make a difference and vote for Barack Obama, just 'cause I know that my world would be better. A lot better."

— Ariel Crum, 19, Douglass High School student


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