A selection of Iowa voter reactions at the polls Tuesday.
— Waylon Vogl, 33, crop insurance company employee, Des Moines
Vogl declined to say how he voted, but expressed frustration about the atmosphere surrounding the election.
"I wish people would understand it's not what party they're for, it's about what people are doing. It's about action, not about which side of the fence you stand on.
"I'm a little irritated by the mud-slinging"
— Richard Uhlmann, 58, owner of a local furniture store, Newton
Uhlmann said he voted for President Barack Obama because the economy is heading in the right direction. He said business at his store is doing much better than it was a few years ago as the housing market has improved.
"I just think he has tried to make a difference. It's slow but there is growth," he said. "We're just going to have to let this downturn ride out."
— Sylvia Fanelli, 34, West Des Moines
Fanelli said he agrees with Republicans on fiscal issues but supports same-sex marriage and voted for Obama.
"I just feel like the playing field will be equal and that our civil and social rights will not be taken away from us and that we can live free and equal," he said.
Fanelli moved to Iowa from North Carolina after a 2009 Iowa Supreme Court decision legalized gay marriage. He voted to retain Justice David Wiggins, who has been targeted for removal because he joined in that unanimous ruling.
"I think that man is an awesome judge," he said. "I think he's doing the right thing and he did the right thing voting for marriage equality in this country."
— Mary Vaughn, 62, physical therapist, West Des Moines
Vaughn said for Republican nominee Mitt Romney for president. She backed Republican Rep. Tom Latham in the 3rd Congressional District race but said it was a hard choice.
"I've listened to so many ads it was a difficult decision because they were so negative. It really made it difficult," she said. "I'd like them to tell me what they're going to do for me and not run the other guy down."
— Becky Scott, 45, West Des Moines city employee, West Des Moines
Scott said she voted for Rep. Leonard Boswell over Latham in the 3rd District race "because of his experience."
"Being in government, working for government in an administrative position, I see the benefits of having relationships and connections that have been established over his years in Congress," she said.
— Janis Huff, 27, stay-at-home mother, Newton
Huff, who is pregnant with her third child, said Obama and the Democratic Party in general looks out for her interests while Romney and the Republicans try to help the rich.
"I want my kids to be able to have good jobs and not just work at McDonald's or Hy-Vee," she said, referring to the local grocery store chain where she recently quit her job during the pregnancy.
— Mary Anne Chevalier, 60, retired computer network analyst, Newton
Chevalier, who observed the polling site for the Republican Party on Tuesday morning, said voters appeared evenly split between the parties. She thought Romney was making gains in the normally Democratic precinct because of the sluggish economy.
"All you have to do is look at all the storefronts boarded up, and houses that are in foreclosure and for sale," she said. "I mean, hello! What about this picture can't you see?"
— Logan Potter, 18, Drake University student, Des Moines
Potter said he voted for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney because he'll be more skilled at helping the economy.
"He's done not a wonderful job but a suitable job for the circumstances that he was presented with," Potter said of the president. "But I just think that Romney, with his history in economics and business, I think he can get our economy in a better stance than Obama can."
— Hannah Risinger, 19, Drake University student, Des Moines
Risinger said she voted for Romney because of her concern about the economy.
"My older brother graduated three years ago with a degree in chemical engineering and is a waiter at a restaurant," Risinger said. "That's upsetting to me and is a concern to me."
Risinger is originally from suburban Chicago but opted to vote in Iowa because she thought her vote would matter more in the battleground state.
Although she voted for Romney, who opposes gay marriage, Risinger voted to retain Wiggins.
"I am pro-gay marriage," she said. "I know that it's legal here in Iowa and I'm hoping that will spread."
— Sonya Kuenzi, 31, insurance company worker, Des Moines
Kuenzi says she voted for Mitt Romney because "we just need a change. I don't like the way things are going right now."
She said she voted to retain the supreme court judges. "I support gay marriage. I think everybody has the right, even if not marriage, a civil union."
— Sharon Malheiro, 55, lawyer, Des Moines
Malheiro said her biggest issue in the presidential race was same-sex marriage. She supports Obama's stand that gay marriage should be legal.
"He supports my right to be married and thinks that all people should have the same access to the same rights and privileges," she said.
Malheiro acknowledged the presidential campaign has been difficult for a nearly evenly divided nation.
"It's been pretty heated at time. There's been a lot of unfriending on Facebook that maybe will be refriended after the election."
— Norma Bettis, 77, travel company owner, Des Moines
Bettis voted for Romney because she agrees with him on social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion as well as economic policy.
"I'm not especially for spreading the wealth," she said.
Asked how she felt about the intense atmosphere during the long campaign, Bettis said, "I'm just glad it's over."
— Sarah Giles, 89, retired, Williamsburg
Giles said she was a strong supporter of Romney.
"When he says he's going to make America wonderful again, he's speaking my lingo. My love for this country goes deeper than anything," she said. "I'm just praying that America has one more chance to get it right. This election is critical, with a big C."
— Jay Doehrmann, 46, grocery store worker, Williamsburg
Doehrmann credited Obama or trying to help the economy and killing Osama bin Laden
"He got bin Laden killed and out of power," he said. "And he's trying to get people back to work. It's a long process and it can't happen overnight."
— Gerald Stokes, 73, retired, Des Moines
Stokes said he voted for Romney because he thinks the Republican would help small businesses and could better handle issues involving taxes and the national debt.
"I like his policies on the economy and jobs."
Asked about the campaign, Stokes said, "It's horrible. A lot more intense. A lot more advertising. A lot of negative"
— Amos Holt, 39, Des Moines
Hold said he voted for Obama because "he is more in tune with more of the regular people."
If Romney were elected, he said, "I think it will be more for the rich people."
Holt said he has children and thinks Obama is more concerned with the welfare of children.
"I think that Barack Obama is more in tune with people with young kids because he has two daughters himself and he wants to make sure that they have a safe environment when they get older and that it's economically sound."