No matter which presidential candidate they selected, Oklahoma City voters reported jobs and the economy as their chief concerns Tuesday as they went to the polls.
Lines at Emmanuel Tabernacle Church, at NW 96 and Western Avenue, moved fairly quickly as voters crowded into the building to cast their ballots.
Arlington Smith, a supporter of President Barack Obama, said he’s primarily interested with getting Americans back to work. He also supports the president’s health care initiative.
Smith said he’s always placed great importance on voting and civic involvement.
Smith said he remembers his parents voting when he was young, and crying when John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated. Smith said he makes a point to vote in every presidential election.
“All of them are important,” he said.
Pam Osborne, also an Obama supporter, said she’s optimistic about the trajectory of the economy. She made a point to vote in Tuesday’s election, she said, since she skipped the presidential election in 2008.
“It’s our right to vote,” she said. “Being involved with a presidential election is important for everyone.”
Robert and Donnita Tollison, both supporters of Republican candidate Mitt Romney, cited the economy and health care as major concerns. Robert Tollison said he was encouraged by Romney’s experience in the private sector.
Donnita Tollison said she worried about the level of debt the country has incurred during Obama’s administration.
“China owns us now,” she said.
Terri Lacy, an Obama supporter, said this year’s election was especially important because of the candidates’ divergent visions for the country. Lacy said she supports Obama’s efforts to provide universal health care coverage, which she said is critical for the country.
Charisse Johnson, also an Obama supporter, said she voted for the president in 2008, as well. She’s impressed with his willingness to make changes to improve education, she said.
At All Souls’ Episcopal Church at NW 63 and Pennsylvania Avenue in Nichols Hills, a line of voters snaked out the door and into the parking lot.
Katie Morgan, a Romney supporter, gained experience within the Republican Party while working as a staff assistant in the office of U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. The presidential election is critical, she said, because the winner will set the national agenda for the next four years.
Morgan voted for Romney because of his business experience. She said she agrees with Romney’s stance on a number of issues, including fiscal policy.
Marilee and Charles Monnot, both Obama supporters, said the outcome of the presidential election will have a grave impact for the country and the world. The two travel overseas extensively, Marilee Monnot said, and from what they’ve seen, Obama enjoys great respect abroad.
Romney voter Herb Mee called the presidential race “the most important election ever.” Mee described Obama as the worst president the nation has seen, and said he suspects the president isn’t a U.S. citizen.
Mee said he sees Romney as a highly qualified candidate, while he thinks Obama comes from “a socialist, communist background” and is actively working to destroy the country.
Richard Clements, a Romney voter, said he initially supported the former Massachusetts governor out of a desire to vote against Obama. But as the campaign has progressed, he said, he’s become more excited about Romney’s platform.
Clements said he’s disappointed in the direction the country has taken. He’s concerned that the growth of the federal government leaves little room for private enterprise, he said.
JoAnn Dudley, also a Romney voter, said this year’s election is especially important since the next president could appoint as many as three new justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, leaving an impact that lasts years after that president has left office. Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg will all turn 80 within the next four years.
Dudley said she’s also concerned with the size of the federal government under the Obama administration.
“I think Washington is the big problem,” she said.