The Voters Speak

CP reporters interviewed early voters around the metro area on Tuesday morning. Here’s what some of them had to say about what’s at stake.

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PHOTO BY BILL KELLEY

Lorraine Stafford, "under 30"
Homemaker, mother of five
Arlington Senior High School, St. Paul

[If Kerry wins], I hope they don't just back out of the war completely and leave us in the dark, where we'll not have any oil. We will have nothing if he just backs out. Right now we have it but it's expensive. But that's part of life. We hate to pay $2 for it right now, but I'd hate to pay $5. If there wasn't a war I might have gone the other way. I just think it's a bad idea to change in the middle of a war.

Mike Lynch, 44
Pastor
Powderhorn Park building, Minneapolis

I vote the Bible. I vote morality, the sanctity of life. I vote on the important issues, definitely the issues of war, who's better equipped. And I think Bush is better equipped. If Kerry's elected, I'm gonna do a lot of praying. If he's president, I still have to pray for the man. I pray for the president now. I think Bush is the best candidate, but I would still pray for Kerry.

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PHOTO BY RAOUL BENAVIDES
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PHOTO BY DIANA WATTERS

Tameka Scott, 28
Carpenter
Jordan New Life Community Church, Minneapolis

I'm a felon and actually haven't been able to vote. I've been on the paper for five years, you know, probation and all that. So I hurried up today and got down here, dropped my kids off at school and got going.

I've voted before, but I didn't help Bush get in the first time. Don't blame me. I just feel like Bush is a liar. The wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time. But we're dealing with other issues here, like health care. I'm not sure Kerry has a plan either, but the fact is, I don't trust the president. I don't like the way he looks, or acts; I don't like his demeanor. He's not trustworthy. I've watched Fahrenheit 9/11; I've watched his press conferences. I know what he's up to.

The whole thing is that we keep losing jobs. I'm a single mother of four, and I've got a job, but it's seasonal. There's no other work for me to look for. I'm a felon, I've worked through that, and there's a lot of barriers there just to get a job.

Look, as far as blacks, we've got to get together as a culture. We've got kids shooting each other on these streets every night. How are you gonna get to the governor or the president and get their attention if you can't even take care of yourselves?

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PHOTO BY BILL KELLEY

Waeil Kattaria, 21
Student
Arlington Senior High School, St. Paul

We got the election stolen from us last time. But we got it stolen because it was a close race and not many people voted. They can't steal it unless it's close. If they only have to steal one state, and the state happens to be his brother's state, then yeah, they can do it. But if they've got to steal two, three, four states, then they can't do it.... Maybe my vote might not count. Maybe my vote is gonna get robbed. Maybe they're gonna throw it away. Maybe the electronic system's gonna mess up. Hell, maybe they'll steal all the states. I don't know. But you know what? I'm gonna do my part. I'm gonna talk about it to people who will listen and I'm gonna vote. I'm gonna do my little part. I know that if everybody does their little part it's going to be okay.

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PHOTO BY BILL KELLEY

Wardell Warren, 73
Retiree
Model Cities, St. Paul

The country needs to turn around and go the other direction because the way things are going isn't going too well. As far as the economy and all the companies sending things overseas, the work and all that. We need more work over here. A lot of people are out of work.

I've been in the service. I was in the Korean conflict over there. We've got our soldiers over there getting killed. When are we going to get out? Another Vietnam? We don't know when we're going to leave. And the deficit the country's in. How many trillions of dollars? The next generation will be paying for that and paying for that, all the way down the line. You know what I'm saying? I hope we get it a little turned around here.

Kay St. John, 48
Former maid and school worker now on disability
Little Earth Neighborhood Early Learning Center, Minneapolis

I never voted in my life before today. This is the first time I ever voted because I am so sick of Bush! I don't understand why he has to hurt everybody so much, especially the poor people. The rich people, it might not matter, although if I was rich I wouldn't vote for Bush anyway. He's cut off all the programs. Programs for rent, for lights, for electricity, for heat. We just go from check to check. I'm not a money person. If I have food and all my bills are paid, I'm fine. But I only get $605 a month; I'm on disability because of my back. And even if you work two or three jobs, which our family has done sometimes, it is hard to make ends meet.

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PHOTO BY NICK VLCEK
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PHOTO BY MIKE MOSEDALE

Chris Hoefer, 29
Stockbroker
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall, Minneapolis

Everything is at stake: the war, the economy, civil rights. I think we're just fucked if Bush gets reelected. I travel abroad a lot, so I've heard the opinion about the U.S. in other parts of the world and right now there is a lot of disdain for us. In Spain, they were like, "Fuck you, American." If we reelect Bush, we are saying that we agree with this asshole we put in office and it will only make things worse. I really don't have any faith that this election is going to be conducted fairly. I don't think they are going to allow that.

DeAnna Smith, 27
Community organizer
Jordan New Life Community Church, Minneapolis

I voted for Kerry, because it's time for a change. It's more against Bush. Some people who support Kerry are African American. Will he do anything for us? We'll see. But it can't be worse for us than it's been. If Bush wins again, some of my friends say they'll move to Canada. But seriously, we better get ready, because then it's gonna get real crazy.

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PHOTO BY DIANA WATTERS
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PHOTO BY MIKE MOSEDALE

Darryl Sonenberg, 44
Software salesman
City Hall, Hilltop

What's at stake? The security of the nation and getting the nation back on track. I think Bush is the best for the job. If Kerry wins, there will be a lot of turmoil. I just don't think he has the intestinal fortitude to run the country. I don't think he could handle the pressure. I doubt we'll have any problems with the election here in Minnesota, but I hear that they still use those stupid punch cards in Ohio. Who knows what will happen? It's too close.

Nghi Huynh, 55
Newspaper editor, Asian American Press
Model Cities, St. Paul

I think it's important based on many issues. Number one is the war. We have to win the war. Because we have invested so much, millions of dollars already invested, and now we have to achieve the goal.... I think in any war we have to suffer a little bit in order to win. That's important. That's number one. And number two, for the morality of the society. The Supreme Court appointment is also very important. If the court is on the wrong side, then country's future is not very good.

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PHOTO BY BILL KELLEY
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PHOTO BY NICK VLCEK

Gandi Mohamed, 23
Transportation worker
Little Earth Neighborhood Early Learning Center, Minneapolis

I'm a little worried because of what happened in 2000. I didn't have any trouble voting today. I'm going to be a little pissed off if Kerry doesn't win, especially in Minnesota. Everywhere I go, I see Kerry signs, and everybody I talk to is voting for Kerry.

I don't approve of everything Kerry says, like some of the social issues. I am more conservative. The gay marriage, I don't believe in that. But the outcome of the war is more important. I wanted to go overseas after my active duty, maybe to work or even for an extended vacation. But you have trouble now--even the Europeans don't like us. When I went to Europe to visit in July, I didn't say I was an American to anybody. In 2000 I told people I was American and it helped me meet people; everybody was friendly toward me. Last time I was over there in Sweden and Finland, I saw people watching the news and some of them were cussing out the Americans. And you could see it right on their faces, the disappointment in America and what we were doing.

D'Andre Norman, 27
Warehouse coordinator
Jordan New Life Community Church, Minneapolis

I normally vote. What's got me concerned is the federal judges, the Supreme Court, the appellate judges. And then there's the war in Iraq and the economy. This is more of an anti-Bush vote. I don't see how anyone can be crazy enough to vote for him again, and I go issue to issue. Four years ago, okay, nobody knew him. But now we know.

I'm very worried about Ohio and Florida. They've allowed challengers there, and it's going to be up to them. There's a history of intimidating black voters, and that's not going to go away. I got a funny feeling about this because of the president's brother's state. I'm not so worried about the others. But that one? How come people don't see through that? And it's the same with Cheney getting Norm Coleman to run for Senate and Tim Pawlenty to run for governor. Get his puppy in there, you know. They've been using fear and religion to mess with people. I don't believe that shit has anything to do with government running the country.

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PHOTO BY DIANA WATTERS
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PHOTO BY DIANA WATTERS

Walter Young, 31
Unemployed
Lyndale Manor, Minneapolis

I was in Florida last time. We lived in Tallahassee and voted for Gore/ Lieberman. I remember watching Bush's anointment ceremony. We moved up here in January, and we were homeless. I'm a registered Democrat, but I had no address. I lived at Harbor Lights for a while. I have a Florida ID and a Social Security card. I don't have a utility bill to prove I live up here now. I was working at Wendy's, but that's on hold--I got hurt. Truth be told, I raised hell for about 10 minutes. I preregistered, so I was on the registration rolls. I told them they had to let me vote.

It's simple--the question is jobs. Bush just keeps sending them over to foreign markets. I suppose the draft will take care of that problem. If Bush wins, I'll just keep waiting for the record-long recession to keep going.

Vera Kirby, 75
Retiree
Lyndale Manor, Minneapolis

I've voted since I was 18, and I never saw anything like it. Bush stole the election! He did! I just hope we get a different president who will be for the people. I worked for Honeywell for 41 years, and I don't have any health benefits. That's okay with this president. And then we go over to Iraq before we're even ready. We had no business going over there, killing our young ones. I vote Democrat all the way, but there's no way this election is going to be good for the poorer classes. It was stolen once, and that's it.

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PHOTO BY DIANA WATTERS

City Pages reporters G.R. Anderson Jr., Paul Demko, Dylan Hicks, Mike Mosedale, Molly Priesmeyer, Britt Robson, Peter S. Scholtes, and Lindsey Thomas contributed to this story.

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