Tribune spoke with voters at three Duneland polling places yesterday
about what was most important to them in the 2020 general election.
Voters were asked
if they vote frequently, what issues were most important to them this time
around, whether or not they give equal weight to local and national issues,
and about how they research candidates. Voters were not prompted to say how
they were voting, though two of 14 the Tribune spoke with offered
talked to 14 Duneland voters who were either in line at or leaving their
polling places yesterday. Almost all reported they vote frequently or
always. One person said she hadn’t voted in years, and one other said
yesterday was her first ever time voting.
--Most voters said
they pay attention to local issues and federal issues equally, and reported
they research their local candidates via social media and news. Some said
federal issues were more important to them this time around, though they
also care a lot about local races.
--Among the most
important issues cited by multiple voters were: taxation, security/safety,
the COVID-19 pandemic, education, and healthcare.
--Of the two voters
who offered their choices: One Democrat voter reported being unhappy with
President Donald Trump’s performance and being scared of what would happen
if he wins reelection. The other noted support for Libertarian gubernatorial
candidate Donald Rainwater, mainly due to Rainwater’s stance on legalizing
marijuana. That voter, who has multiple sclerosis, said many people don’t
understand how much medical marijuana can help people with disabilities.
There were no lines
at the end of the day yesterday at Chesterton United Methodist Church, but
voters trickled in until the very last minute, including Ashley Dec, 36, who
voted for the first time ever in the 2020 general election.
Dec said healthcare
and student-loan forgiveness were the most important issues to her in this
election. “I just hope it goes up from here,” she said.
Audra Peterson, one
of the last people to vote at United Methodist, spoke with the Tribune
on her way out. She said she always votes. “I feel that it’s my community
responsibility and my civic responsibility to vote and make good decisions
for what’s going to happen,” Peterson said.
Peterson said both
local and federal issues are very important to her. What’s most important in
this election, she said, is finding a way out of COVID-19 and the economic
and emotion turmoil it has caused. She said she looks for compassionate
Elizabeth Potts, a
frequent voter, said education (both as it relates to funding and COVID-19)
was her biggest concern this election, and, in fact, she mainly came out to
vote in the race for Duneland School Board.
Porter Town Hall
At the Porter Town
Hall around 11:30 a.m., there was a line out the door and down to the
sidewalk, but it moved relatively quickly. Hilary Ledbetter, 35, brought her
son Holden, 5, with her to vote.
Ledbetter said the
most important issues for her this election are the handling of the COVID-19
pandemic, education, and human rights/equal rights. Ledbetter said she votes
in every election and usually cares about local and federal issues evenly.
Holden said he’s a future voter and excited about it.
she’s turned to social media increasingly since the pandemic has shut down
in-person events with local candidates. “A lot of them have been very vocal
in community Facebook groups,” she said. “It’s nice to see them comment on
issues that parents bring up.”
Edward Zarych, 74,
was also waiting in line at Porter Town Hall. Zarych, who almost always
votes, said he does his research by both searching the internet and watching
TV. “I like to watch the debates to see who the biggest liar is,” he said,
with a bit of a laugh.
Also in Porter,
Russell Burton, 82, and his wife Jeanette, 79, reported the biggest issue
for them this election was voting for what’s best for the people. Their big
issues include healthcare, Medicare and Medicaid, and Social Security, and
how these will affect their children and grandchildren.
Suzanne Kist, 61,
of Porter, said she hadn’t been to the voting booth in a while, “years and
years,” in fact. “I just wish America would get back to normal. Stop the
looting and burning of the cities,” Kist said.
Intermediate School around 1 p.m., mother-daughter team Ann Johnson, 38, and
Iesha Matthews, 22, reported they always vote. And, in spite of the COVID-19
pandemic, they reported they planned to vote in-person from the start. “I
don’t want anything to happen to my ballot--just wanted to come in and get
it done,” Matthews said.
Matthews said they’re most concerned about race and gender equality and
bodily autonomy this election. Johnson said Matthews helps her research
candidates online using news and data: “She’s like my Google search.”
Bruce Clark said
he’s a frequent voter who pays attention to both local and federal issues,
even those that might not affect him. “There’s a lot of stuff that might not
pertain to me, but it might affect my buddy,” Clark said.