Why they voted

Wednesday, November 8, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 5:17 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Missourian asked voters at polling places across Boone County about what brought them to the polls.

Amendment 2 (stem cell research)

“Stem cell research and the Senate race were the main issues for me, because I think it’s important research.”

— Linda Okamura, database programmer

“Stem cells will ensure that scientific research will be allowed to progress and not be restricted by the religious, right-wing fundamentalist nuts. It will create complex cures for diseases that we need to look into now, especially in light of our future.”

— Russ Unger, 43, sheet metalworker, voting at Community United Methodist Church

“This is probably the most important election I have voted in.”

— Brian Whorley, 25, engineer, voting at Grindstone Clubhouse

“I think that Amendments 2 and 3 are very important. I think that probably those choices make a statement about our beliefs and ideas — and the direction that our state is moving.”

— Marian Minor, 63, teacher at MU, voting at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church

Jill Bergee, a teacher, brought her 11-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, to watch the voting process. “I think it’s really important that young people get to know issues, see the process and see their parents vote.”

— Jill Bergee, teacher, voting at Fairview Elementary School

“The amendments were the most important issues because we have to think twice before changing our Constitution.”

— Tanja Harris, 38, administrative assistant, voting at Forum Boulevard Christian Church

Marylin Jones felt strongly about stem cells, the Senate race and the minimum wage. “I think people who live in this country need a living wage. Minimum wage is not a whole lot to live on.” She supports stem cell research. “I don’t see stem cells as destroying human life. I see it the same as organ donation. You’re not killing life. You’re harvesting it — could save lives.”

— Marylyn Jones, 60, teacher at Gentry Middle School, voting at Gentry Middle School

“Jim Talent and Amendment 2 — that’s the only reason I’m here.”

— Tim Sherman, 35, FedEx employee

“I am sending a message to Republicans who control the government, but I am not sure it will change anything. I am quite cynical about the United States right now. I think we show too much arrogance about our place in the world.”

— Raymond White, 34, Assistant manager at a garden center, voting at Campus Lutheran Church on College Avenue

“The Senate race, stem cell research, the tax on cigarettes and the minimum wage increase were the most important issues on the ballot. I feel very strongly that they all need to pass. They are for the greater good of the population.”

— Debbie Allen, 53, event planner for the MU Jefferson Club, voting at Forum Boulevard Christian Church

“It’s important to vote. It’s for our community, our city, our county, our state. If we don’t vote, we don’t have a voice. Some changes need to be done in the Senate, and I’m not real happy with Talent. Someone new needs to come in and get things done.”

— Bryce Arnold, 31, loan officer

“I came because I voted in every election since 1968. ... I can say I am a Republican, but I voted for Democrats because they have the best candidates.”

— Bill Haws, 59, worker for the prosecuting attorney, voting at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church

“Really, it’s just more of a duty. If you’re old enough to vote and given the opportunity, it’s really something you ought to do,”

— Joe Rowland, 37, electrician

“I’m for economic growth and not against stem cell research, but it was a poorly written amendment.”

— Steven Head, 44, office manager

“I voted no on the stem cell initiative because I didn’t like the guaranteed funding — they have no way to take it away unless they repeal the amendment.”

— Mike Manns, 41, sales

“Stem cells was an important issue for me because it’s about cloning and producing little babies that would be killed. I don’t believe in that.”

— Paula Brazell, 50, counselor/receptionist

“Stem cells is an important issue for me because it deals with medical ethics. As a country that’s something we’re going to, like euthanasia of old people, and we should be socially and culturally responsible.”

— Cecilia Campbell, 46, state government employee

“What is most important is Amendment 2. Amendment 2, if you read it, tells exactly the opposite of what advertisements say. ... The way they’re going to get the embryonic cells is they’re going to clone.”

— Judy Todd, 50, MU tax specialist

“Stem cell research was a major issue. I want to have access to whatever’s out there.”

— Amanda Atkins, 27, teacher

“It’s not a guarantee, but I think it is the future and eventually it will get us there. A lot of the issues being raised as far as cloning, I don’t think they hold value.”

— Wes Dahms, 27, EMT

“I think (Amendment 2) gives a free pass to the researchers in the state who want to do embryonic stem cell research.”

— Darin Enderton, 25, MU grad student

“Amendment 2 is the most important because we’re tampering with life. We don’t make life to destroy it.”

— Terry Stoy, homemaker

“The stem cell issue is important for all the people who are suffering.”

— Parvaneh Johnson, 72, teacher

“Anything they can do to improve research, they can do to cure any disease, is well worth it. I mean, it’s ridiculous to stand in the way of medical research. So I certainly hope (Amendment 2) can pass.”

—Michael Koonse, 56, glass company owner

“There has been lots of controversy about (stem cell research) and I think people are probably voting more on emotion than on logic and reasoning. And I hate to see the constitution of the state changed emotionally.”

— Keith Ham, 39, funeral director

National Guard Armory, Columbia

“There is stem cell research going on, and I don’t like the idea of paying them to collect the eggs and make it a constitutional right.”

— Lisa Clair, 37, Web designer

“Somatic cell nuclear transfer creates a life and then destroys it after 14 days. It seems to me that it’s just basic human cloning.”

— Lance Bell, 37, sales

“I believe life begins at the beginning of the embryo, and I don’t think research should be done that destroys human life.”

— Randy Foley, 57, meat cutter at Schnuck’s grocery store

“I think that Missouri would be missing out in the future of doctors and medicine.”

— Amber Spohn

“Even educated people seem to struggle with the basic facts of this issue. There’s a lot to learn.”

— Eric Lorenz, 52, sales

“I think (the amendment) was kind of confusing,” said Joanne Holste, a 52-year-old teacher. She said she and her husband changed their minds several times on the stem cells amendment before finally deciding to both vote no because they found the wording of the amendment confusing.

“Depending on who you spoke to, you heard different things.”­­

Joanne Holste, 52, teacher

“The stem cell initiative was the absolute reason I came. I’m in favor of it because I had a niece who had a stem cell transplant. She was a year old when she was diagnosed and she had the transplant in April. She was missing an enzyme, but she’s 100 percent now.”

— Vivian Nichols, 49, homemaker

“Most important (issue) is Stem Cell Research. I think it’s important to make sure we ensure medical scientists the ability to find innovative cures for diseases and make Missouri a leader in life sciences technology.”

— Leanne Tippett Mosby, 41, works for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Ashland Optimist Complex, in Ashland

“I’m a cancer survivor, so I’m very much for the stem cell amendment. I just hope they can find cures to diseases that are so devastating to people.”

— Kathy Windmiller, 53, cytotechnologist

Linda Glaab, who has a father with “really bad” diabates and a mother with dementia, said she strongly supports the stem cell amendment. “I think it’s particularLy important, because it could bring about new cures.”

— Linda Glaab, 53, administrative assistant


“I don’t think we should have been there (Iraq) in the first place. I think it has been horribly mismanaged, and I think it is time to get somebody new in their making decisions or at least have oversight over people who are making the decisions.”

— Chris, Canipe, 29, graphic designer, voting at National Guard Armory

“I think that the president needs to be impeached because he said he is responsible for the war in Iraq and he must be kept accountable.”’

— Mauricio Hurtado, 64, auditor

Political climate

“It’s all about honesty. ... I voted because of the candidates’ opinions of the issue but not which party they belong to. We shouldn’t put a label on people to identify them. ... The campaign should have ended two weeks prior to the election. It’s too much waste of resources.”

— Don Griffith, 74, voting at First Church of God

“Democrats and Republicans are too much alike and have too much invested in big business.”

— Claire Garden, voting at Activities & Recreation Center

“All the money spent on fliers, campaigns, interruptions and cold calls would be better spent on something productive like buying food for the poor. I have a son-in-law fighting in Iraq and they hear about politicians fighting and it’s un-American.”

— Linda Olsen, voting at Broadway Christian Church

Need for change

“We need change in Washington. We need to focus on what’s going on inside the U.S. We are not going to make blood enemies. Love one another.”

— Terry Stiles, 56, sales management, voting at Forum Boulevard Christian Church

“I want Republicans to keep Congress. Their views are more aligned with mine.”

— Dearld Snider, public school retirement system, voting at Forum Boulevard Christian Church

“Control of Congress should go to the Democrats. Things are going in the wrong direction.”

— Kevin Allemann, 50, software programmer Harrisburg Christian Church

“To me, the most important thing is to get some Democrats back in office, swinging that majority back (to the middle). I think that the stem cell research is kind of interesting. I know that Christian fundamentalists are against it. To me, if you believe that Christ is returning like they think, stem cell research will offer everybody a chance to see that day. I am for it, and I am a Christian.”

— Jim Spradling, 33, Gardener

“I feel as though the last six years have been disastrous. They’ve been hard on working people. Very hard on working families. ... It was unspeakable that we embarked on and have continued a war that has killed thousands of Iraqis, hundreds of soldiers, bankrupted our economy and made us hated worldwide. I’m hoping we can put in office Congress people who are more responsive to our needs.”

— Jessie Lawson, retired

“I was just sick of the way government is run right now. They don’t seem to care what the people think.”

— Janet Flick, 60, registered nurse, voting in Hallsville

“I think that the Democratic Party is more likely to (enter) into talks and willing to listen to the other side rather than the Republicans who tend to be ‘my way or the highway.’”

— Tammy Schafer, voting at Activities & Recreation Center

“I am for getting rid of Bush and the Congress around him.”

—John F. Wheeler, 81, Journalist, voting at Activities & Recreation Center

“I voted all Democratic. We’ve got to get rid of the Republican Senate”

— Linda King, voting at Activities & Recreation Center

“This is the first time I will vote in Missouri. I just moved here in February. ... The more negative the ad, the more I despise the politician. I vote for the person who can get the job done and because of that, I went Democrat this time. I like to give the candidates both a chance. I don’t usually vote with a party, but Talent had his chance and he screwed up. I’m a veteran and he voted 13 times against veterans issues.”

— Tim Wright, 31, state employee

Effect of ads

“The problem is that people aren’t reading the amendments; they’re just believing the advertisements.”

— Judy Todd, 50, non-resident alien taxation specialist at MU

“The character of the candidates says a lot — how they come across to the public, how they carry themselves. The ones that promote the issues they’re running for stand out to me, but I really don’t care for all the negative advertising. It’s just poor form.”

— David Provorse, 53, retired, voting at Trinity Presbyterian Church

Voting machines

“It’s the first time I’ve used the electronic voting machines. It was easy ... as long as they record accurately what people voted.”

— Frank Riffle, 45, manufacturing supervisor

“I just used the electronic voting machine. It was cool. I like it.”

— Nancy David, 64, retired

Amendment 3 (tobacco tax)

“I’m really against tobacco use, but I thought the amount of taxation on this was just ridiculous.”

— Royce Bervig, 50, retail

Bill Garbutt opposed the tobacco tax, he is a smoker, but not a cigarette smoker. He smokes pipes. “They’re going from 17 cents to 93 cents I think. A little extreme. If they would have doubled it, they might have more luck. I don’t know how it’s gonna go.”

— Bill Garbutt, age 64, salesman

“I voted yes on the cigarette tax because I don’t like cigarettes. My dad smokes.”

— Dave Collier, 24, MU grad student

Marcus Wade felt strongly about the tobacco tax. “I voted in favor of proposition 3. It’s a good idea to raise funds for health care and discourage teens from smoking.”

— Marcus Wade, age 29, physician

Amendment 7 (state pensions and salaries)

“Amendment 7 was the one I voted to pass because we need to keep people who get caught penalized.”

— Tanja Harris, 38, administrative assistant

Proposition B (Minimum wage)

“Stem cells and minimum wage were very important. I’m surprised we didn’t hear more about the minimum wage issue.”

— Stacey Caraway, 37, computer programmer

“We need to raise the minimum wage because you can’t make a living on 5 bucks an hour.”

— Don O’Haire, 55, merchandiser

“I really wanted to vote on the minimum wage because I think (workers) deserve a raise.”

— Sherry leach, 56, hairdresser

“It’s important to provide all citizens with a minimum wage.”

— Aaron Beitman, 24, graduate student, who said it’s “ridiculous” that the minimum wage is not higher

U.S. Senate

“Some changes need to be done in the Senate, and I’m not real happy with Talent. Someone new needs to come in and get things done.”

— Bryce Arnold, 31, loan officer

“I believe the current senator is bad for Missouri and furthermore, that a change in Senate might hopefully help sway the overall Senate and help put Democrat issues in the forefront and have more strength.”

— Thomas Josephsohn, 23, graduate sociology student at MU

“The Senate race is most important to me because I don’t like who’s in there right now.”

— Gary Langston, 68, retired

“I supported Claire McCaskill just because of the fact that she was for lowering tuition.”

— Phillip Watson, 21, student

“All the races are important. Especially the Senate race. I think Talent is a lot stronger on defending the borders and taxes. I think Claire is controlled by the national Democrats. She’ll jump through their hoops.”

— Marc Anderson, financial services

“The Senate race was most important because we want to get rid of Republicans.”

— Parvaneh Johnson, 72, teacher

“The senatorial candidate was the most important issue, because it could change the composition of the Senate.”

— Eric Bunch, 24, cross-country coach

“My wife and I both feel that we need more women in the federal government. That’s why we voted for McCaskill.”

— Mike Steffan, 58, retired

“He is doing a good job and I’d like to see him continue.”

— Sharon Grove, 34, administrative assistant, who voted for Sen. Jim Talent

“I know Jim Talent has pretty bad record as far as funding all social progressive programs and education is certainly one of them that he falls way short of fulfilling his obligation to Americans. I feel really strongly that he should not be in office anymore.”

— Brian Sherwood, 22, an MU senior majoring in music

Boone County presiding commissioner

“I voted for Ken Pearson; they have a Republican in there now, and I would like to see someone new in office.”

— Houston Mueller, 24, self-employed

"We don’t have a favorable (presiding) commissioner right now. We don’t have a commissioner who’s favorable to the workers.”

— Rex Taggert, 55, Field Representative for local laborers

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