‘Obamacare is going to ruin the health care system’
First-time voter Nicholas Rizzo, 18, cast his ballot for Romney.
Rizzo said his concern for jobs and the economy led to his decision, adding that Obama’s health care reform had dissuaded him from supporting the president.
“Obamacare is going to ruin the health care system,” he said. “It will discourage people from joining that field.”
He was joined by his mother Karen Rizzo at the Lanier Hills Church polling location in northwestern Hall County.
Consulate attack solidified this voter
Fonda Martin said Obama’s handling of the economy, as well as fundamental disagreements with the president’s views, prompted her to vote for Romney.
“I felt that what’s been going on the past four years, my personal beliefs were not being respected,” she said.
The attack on the consulate in Benghazi and events surrounding also solidified her vote.
“With our technology today, you can’t excuse something not being done, not having the insight to step in and help,” she said, voting at Chestatee High School.
Martin, 52, added that while party affiliation is a major factor, it doesn’t neccesarily dictate for whom she votes.
“I keep an open mind when I step in that booth,” she said. “I have voted Democratic before, many years ago.”
‘Obama had his chance’
Calvin Brown left West Hall Baptist Church on Tuesday afternoon on his way to a third precinct a little farther down McEver Road to cast his vote for president. He hoped it’d be his final try.
Brown had changed his address earlier in the year and was turned away from two precincts before heading to the third.
But the inconvenience, he said, was not going to deter him.
“It’s important enough that we’re going to do that,” said Brown. “Any other time, we’d probably say, ‘forget it’ and go home. But today is not the day we’re going to do that.”
And when he reached his correct precinct, Brown said, he pulled the trigger for Mitt Romney.
“I don’t know if either one of them is able to (stimulate job growth), but I just know the one sitting in there right now isn’t doing the job,” he said. “Obama had his chance and hasn’t done it. It’s time for somebody else to try.”
Emotional roller coaster
Angela Rash was on a bit of an emotional roller coaster as she participated in an election for the first time on Tuesday.
At the start of the day, the Gainesville resident was unsure whether she was even registered to vote in Hall County or if she had signed up at the place she’d gotten her driver’s license, St. Simons.
“It was kind of weird because I wasn’t sure if I was registered here,” she said after voting at the Georgia Mountains Center.
After the Hall County Elections Office confirmed she was registered to vote in Hall, Rash and her mother went back to the polls.
“It was very self-explanatory how to do everything,” Rash said as she wore her Georgia voter sticker.
Voter thinks Romney is full of empty words
Romney’s “fast talking” is the reason Gainesville resident Barbara Thomas voted for the other party Tuesday.
Thomas, who had yet to put on her Georgia voter sticker as she left the Fair Street Neighborhood Center shortly before noon, said she couldn’t pick one top issue of the campaign.
But Thomas said she felt Romney was just full of empty words.
“I think he’s just got a quick tongue and talks fast,” she said. “And when you talk fast you say anything.”
So she cast her ballot for Obama, she said.
Voting at the Gainesville II precinct went smoothly, and Thomas said she was in and out within 15 minutes.
‘Good stewards of the community’
Nine Riverside Military Academy seniors took their first trip to the polls Tuesday to cast their ballots.
Col. Robert Cagle took the students, who were all 18, to Lakewood Baptist Church at lunch to vote, according to Adriane Seymour, director of communications and public relations for the school.
“They’d been following the election through Col. Cagle’s various social studies classes,” she said. “This was a very exciting thing for them.”
Seymour said the school always takes students to the polls, working to instill the importance of voting.
“Everything that we do here at Riverside, we teach the importance of leadership, integrity and character development and how your word is your bond and part of that is being a good citizen ... and that means exercising your right to vote,” she said. “So we encourage that and we talk about it on a daily basis.”
The other social studies students who were not of age to vote participated in a mock election.
The nine students who were of legal age were excited to vote, Seymour said.
“One of the students had even been sick, but wanted to vote so badly,” she said, adding he had received permission to go along and cast his vote.
Seymour said having heard stories from military personnel about the lack of freedoms in other countries has instilled a greater appreciation for the right to vote.
“Here at the academy we have a lot of men who have risked their life for this country, and we’re just thankful to have this opportunity to vote,” she said. “We encourage our kids to do that and to be good stewards of the community.”
Economy the main issue for Gainesville resident
The economy was the main political issue for Edward Law as he cast his ballot Tuesday afternoon.
“I’m on a fixed income and when (the economy) is good we tend to get along a little better,” the retiree said.
The Gainesville resident said he had no troubles as he voted just after noon at the Gainesville II precinct, the Fair Street Neighborhood Center.
“It was nice because there were no lines,” Law said.
The presidential race was the most important contest on the ballot for Law, and he cast a ballot for Obama, he said.
Republican sticks to GOP
The nation’s energy problems are what sent Arthur Leach of Flowery Branch to the polls Tuesday.
“I’m going to vote for Romney because he has a better plan to utilize our natural resources and help us become less dependent on outside sources,” he said, while standing outside the Friendship I precinct at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Flowery Branch.
The vote for Romney represented a flip for Leach from the 2008 election, when he voted for Obama.
“I did so because I wasn’t happy with John McCain,” he said, reflecting on that race. “I pretty much always voted Republican, but I wasn’t happy with the way (McCain) presented his case.
‘A little nerve-racking’
Ashley Sexton said she was enjoying her first time working as a Hall County poll manager during a presidential election.
“It’s a little nerve-racking, but it’s actually going fairly well, fairly smoothly,” she said.
Voter activity was buzzing at the Friendship I precinct at Prince of Peace Catholic Church on Spout Springs Road. With more than 5,000 voters, it’s Hall’s largest precinct.
“It’s been like this ever since we opened (at 7 a.m.),” she said. “We actually had people lining up around 5:45 or 6.”
Still, “everybody is getting through fairly quickly. There hasn’t been any issues with lines,” Sexton said.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the location where Riverside students voted.
College student focused on a job
College student Stephanie Lightfoot, 19, had a lot to say after voting in her first presidential election at the Gainesville Civic Center.
Lightfoot’s main concern as a college student at the University of Georgia is the job market.
“In a few years I will be trying to get a job, and I just don’t see hope with our current president,” she said. “I think that (President Barack) Obama made a lot of promises that just did not happen in the last four years.”
So she cast her ballot for Mitt Romney.