What Arkansas voters had to say during election

Associated Press Modified: November 6, 2012 at 6:02 pm •  Published: November 6, 2012
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A collection of voter voices during the 2012 general election:

In Pine Bluff, Linda Johnson, 69, said she voted for Romney in the presidential race.

"That was a hard one," said Johnson, who four years ago voted for Obama. "I didn't really like either one of them."

Johnson, who is retired, said she chose Romney because she didn't believe Obama had done enough to help the economy recover.

"I don't like the way the economy is going. I don't feel like it's going to get any better with Obama in there, she said.

Johnson said she was hesitant about Romney because she didn't like running mate Paul Ryan, and felt that the two were too hardline in their opposition to abortion.

Johnson, who supported Democrat Mike Ross two years ago, picked Cotton in the race for Ross' congressional seat.

"He's a fresh face," she said.

She voted against the medical marijuana legalization measure, but said she could support it if there were more regulations.

"It needs to be regulated better. I think there's too many loopholes," she said.

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In Pine Bluff, Antoine Lester, 26, said he cast his ballot for Obama and Democrats across the board when he voted at the Sahara Temple in downtown Pine Bluff.

Lester, who recently graduated from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, said he believed the president had made progress in repairing the nation's economy.

"He came in with a hard fight ahead of him, and he's done as much as he can," Lester said "I just figured we should give him another four years."

Lester said he wasn't familiar with either candidate in the 4th Congressional District, so he voted for Jeffress.

"By voting straight Democrat, I'm hoping to give (Obama) some help," he said.

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Mike Harris, 51, said he voted for Romney and a straight Republican ticket Tuesday in Pine Bluff.

"I don't think Obama's been doing a good job for the United States," said Harris, who works for the state Department of Correction. "Our national debt was the number one reason."

Harris said he voted for Cotton in the congressional race because he believed the Republican would push for more changes.

"From what I've read and seen, he's a man who will make some changes," Harris said. "That's what we need up there. We need some congressmen who will try something different."

Harris said he was more motivated to vote in a heated Pine Bluff mayor's race, noting that Arkansas is not in play in the presidential race.

"I really don't believe my vote matters, but I still do my duty and go vote," he said.

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In Little Rock, Kevin Ledbetter, 44, who is in between jobs but used to be a waiter, said he voted for Democrats across the board Tuesday.

He said the prospect of Republicans taking one or both houses in Arkansas motivated him to vote.

"If it was only for the president, I probably might have just not even bothered because we (Arkansas voters) are typically so red," he said.

He said he fears that more economic and education problems could beset the state if Republicans seize a majority in the Legislature.

Ledbetter said he tends to vote Democratic, but the racially charged writings of Republican Reps. Jon Hubbard and Loy Mauch and former Rep. Charlie Fuqua and Mauch added to why he voted for Democrats.

"That definitely was something that inspired me to vote Democratic," he said. "It just sickened me. We already have a reputation for being ignorant hillbillies anyway and then these people get on national news."

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At Cabot's community center, Charles Beall said Tuesday he voted for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

"Just the way this country has gone the last four years," said Beall, 60, who works in law enforcement.

Beall said he voted for Scott Ellington, the Democrats' nominee for Congress.

"He's from an area of the state that I'm from, northeast Arkansas, and he's a prosecutor," he said.

Beall, a Republican, said he voted for the highway tax, saying it would improve safety.

"Our roads need improvement in this state," he said.

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In Fayetteville, Connie Belk, 65, a retired teacher said she's a Republican but added that she voted for both parties on Tuesday.

In the presidential election, she said she "absolutely" voted for Romney.

"I think we need a businessman to get this country back to where we ought to be," Belk said. "I have been concerned about all these trillions and trillions of dollars of debt. It's ridiculous, and we need to get back to good, sound financial leadership."

Belk, who moved to Fayetteville from Pine Bluff three years ago, said she voted for the highway proposal.

"Although I don't need to pay any more taxes, we need better highways," Belk said. "If that's what it's going to take to do it, then I'm for that because we need improvements."

She also said she voted against the medical marijuana proposal.

"I do feel sympathetic for those who really need it," Belk said. "But I'm afraid it will go into other problems."

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In Cabot, Michael Robinson, 47, who is retired from the military and now works as a civilian at the Little Rock Air Force Base, said Tuesday he voted for President Barack Obama.

"I just think he needs more time to get everything straightened out," he said.

Robinson said he voted "mostly Republican, except for Obama."

"He had a bad start to run with. It's just going to take him more time," he said.

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In Fayetteville, Kenny Bartle, 41, a commercial lender, said he was raised a Democrat, but that Tuesday was the first election in which he voted Republican almost across the board.

"Abysmal leadership," Bartle said when asked why.

Bartle said he struggled with the proposed highway tax but that he did vote for it.

"I think it benefits northwest Arkansas," Bartle said. "Probably unequally benefits us, and everybody pays."

Bartle also said he voted for the medical marijuana proposal.

"I think it's a waste of money, completely," Bartle said. "I think they should legalize everything."

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In Cabot, Erin Teague, 32, who works for a law firm that specializes in debt collection, voted for Romney.

"I just don't like the way things have been going. People can't pay their bills," she said.

Teague said she voted for Republicans in all races.

"I don't like the handouts," she said. "I believe in working, earning a buck. The way it is now, it's hurting the people in the middle class that are trying to earn a living."

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In downtown Little Rock, Tim Bovard, 47, a pipe organ builder, said he voted Tuesday for Obama and Democrat Herb Rule for Congress.

"With what the Republican Party has been doing to him (Obama) over the last four years, not to mention the country in the previous dozen years, we cannot go back to that," he said. "Romney has never given us any answers."

"When we have Republicans that are standing up in the national audience and proclaiming their job number one is to see that he's a one-term president, that's not how our government is supposed to work," he said.