Voting steady; polls open until 7:30 p.m.

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Staff report
Voting in the primary election began at 6:30 this morning around the state.  
Voters talking to Salisbury Post reporters have said Amendment One, a controversial step that would ban gay marriage and civil unions,  drew them to the polls.
“I wanted to make sure I voted in opposition of the marriage amendment because it is a redundant measure that would affect more than same sex couples,” said Elizabeth Person of China Grove.
Don Hopkins of Kannapolis said he voted in favor of the ammendment.
“My father used to be a minister and he preached against (homosexuality),” he said. “This part of the country used to be the Bible belt, but it’s turned into everything but the Bible belt.”
Hopkins said he considers voting a “big deal” and makes it a point to cast a ballot during every election.  
“I think it is our privilege and a Godsend to be able to vote.”
Lesley Beyersdorf of Kannapolis said she, too, “always votes,” but she this year she had even more of a reason.
“I came today to vote against the constitutional amendment because it’s too vague and it can harm so many people in the state of North Carolina,” she said.
Thurman Wood of Kannapolis said he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, that’s why he cast his vote in support of the ammendment.
“That’s the way its supposed to be,” he said. “I wanted to make sure they didn’t pull one over on us.”
Norman Eldreth of Kannapolis said the governor’s race and Amendment One brought him out to the polls. He cast his vote for Pat McCrory and in favor of the amendment.
“I feel like (McCrory) is the best candidate for either side,” he said. “Amendment One gives the good Christian people a little more teeth in the laws. We have to vote now if we want to continue to ban same sex marriage.”
Judy and Sonny Boling, who voted in the Republican primary, said the amendment is the main reason they came to vote.
They said they’re also interested in the races for governor and lieutenant governor.
Judy said she’s supporting Pat McCrory in the governor’s race, because “he did a good job while he was mayor of Charlotte.” She isn’t happy with current Gov. Beverly Perdue for shifting education lottery funds away from the schools.
Marlene Roseman of China Grove said she doesn’t miss an election, but she was “particularly interested” in Amendment One.
“I voted against it because I think everybody deserves the same rights,” she said.
Voters will choose candidates for the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. Fifteen people filed for two open seats. Today’s election will determine who the Republican and Democratic candidates will be.
Sonny Boling said he wants to “clean house” on the Rowan County Board of Commissioners and elect people who are more business-friendly.
Only two seats are up for grabs on the county board, but neither are incumbents. That guarantees two new commissioners after the November general election.
Howard Shaver voted in the Republican primary, and he said his goal is to “change what’s going on.”
“Hopefully, we can put people in that care about the needs of the people, instead of what we’ve got,” Shaver said.
Voters in the Milford Hills City precinct this morning were split on the marriage amendment.
“I feel our amendments and constitution should protect and also state our rights, instead of taking them away,” said Dayna Anderson, who voted against the amendment.
Ben and Jean McCubbins said they were already “dead set” on voting for the amendment when Franklin Graham called Monday and reinforced their belief.
“This is important,” Jean McCubbins said. “North Carolina is one of the last states in the South to pass this.”
The couple predicted voter turnout might be higher than usual for a primary due to interest in the amendment.
Sadie Pope drove to the Milford Hills poll at Isenberg Elementary to vote no on the amendment.
“It’s all about equal rights,” Pope said. “It’s not about the gay or lesbian communities. It’s about everybody.”
Pope said the amendment will have a detrimental effect on domestic partnerships if passed.
Jim Humphries, who said he votes in every election he can, came out to vote for Gus Andrews in the race for Rowan County Board of Commissioners and yes on the marriage amendment.
“Steve and Steve, Nancy and Nancy,” Humphries said. “I just don’t get that.”
Turnout was steady this morning in the Milford Hills City precinct at Isenberg Elementary, where 164 people had voted by 10:40 a.m. Judges said they did not experienced a rush in the early morning but had seen a steady pace since the poll opened at 6:30 a.m.
Polls close at 7:30 tonight.
Also on the ballot are state House and Senate districts, governor, lieutenant governor and council of state seats.

To see a sample ballot, click here:
Reporters Sarah Campbell, Emily Ford and Karissa Minn contributed to this story.