Chesterton Tribune



What brought Dunelanders to the polls yesterday

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The Chesterton 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 that information.

Some takeaways:

--The Tribune 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.

Chesterton Methodist Church

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 candidates.

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.

Ledbetter said 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.

Liberty Intermediate

At Liberty 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.

Johnson and 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.



Posted 11/4/2020


Posted 11/4/2020


Posted 11/4/2020




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