CONCORD, N.H. (Jan. 10, 2012) — New Hampshire’s capital city was abuzz with voters Tuesday who came out — as many of them see it — to ensure the country will head in the right direction.
At the Green Street Community Centerare polling place, Dana, 40, and Andrea Garneau, 41, are owners of a sign and graphics business. They always bring their two sons to the polls with them. The Garneau family lives on Federal Street, two blocks from the polling location at Green Street Community Center. So voting is a convenient walk for the whole family, Andrea Garneau said.
“It’s good to show the children that voting is an important part of being a citizen,” Andrea Garneau said. The Garneaus brought their 7-month-old son in a stroller with them to Green Street on Tuesday morning. Their 5-year-old son was in school, so missed out this year.
Andrea Garneau has voted in every election since she turned 18. She votes, she said, because she feels it is part of her job as an American citizen. She is an independent voter, she said, because she does not like to classify her beliefs into categories. She cast her ballot Tuesday for Ron Paul because she thinks he matches her thinking about being independent. “He’s another fellow independent-minded guy,” she said. “I like him.”
Dana Garneau, on the other hand, voted for Mitt Romney. He thinks Romney is the most well-rounded candidate, Dana Garneau said.
Dana Garneau served in the U.S. Marines from 1989 to 1993. During that time, he always voted by absentee ballot. His time in the Marines has influenced how he votes now, he said. “I think it all kind of comes together. All your life experiences come together to make you who you are,” he said.
Also at the Green Street Community Center, Ashlyn Hiley, 40, a social worker and Democrat, who came to vote for President Barack Obama even though he is sure to win his party’s nomination. Hiley’s job as a social worker put issues of education, health care and poverty at the forefront of her life, she said. “The population that I tend to work with tends to be my primary importance,” she said.
Hiley grew up in Katonah, N.Y. This is her second primary in New Hampshire. She loves the atmosphere and the easy access to candidates’ events that comes with the New Hampshire primary, she said. This year, her husband dragged her to a Romney event. And she also attended a Jon Huntsman event, she said.
“I love being here. I love the action. I love the energy. I love that everyone’s involved,” Hiley said. “It’s a wonderful experience to be a part of. Having grown up in New York, no one really ever asked you what you thought.”
At St. Peter’s Church polling place, Elizabeth Walsh, 84, a retired medical secretary, voted with one issue in mind: Get Obama out of office.
Walsh has been voting for 63 years. It is important to exercise the right to vote, she said, especially as other rights slip away. In this election, she is particularly concerned that her right to be a Christian has come under fire, she said.
“You can be a Muslim and go to school and preach it. You can be a witch and go to school and preach that. You can be a homosexual,” Walsh said. “But you can’t go to school and preach creationism.”
Walsh cast her ballot for Paul, who she said she sees as a good Christian. “And he stands on the Constitution,” she added. “He’s fiscally responsible. I think he’s great.”
(Rebecca Kheel, a senior with dual majors in newspaper journalism and history, is covering the New Hampshire primary for The Berkshire Eagle.)