By Marta Hepler Drahos
MAPLE CITY —
The Presidential race, state proposals and the way in which this year’s election campaigns were run were uppermost in Leelanau County voters’ minds today as they came to the polls.
“I’m off to vote for Obama,” said Mary Shackleton, 63, of Suttons Bay, as she headed to the Suttons Bay Township precinct to cast her ballot. “I have to negate my husband’s vote. Forty years of marriage and we’re polar opposites politically.”
Chuck Beyer also voted for Obama but said the choice was less clear.
“I don’t like either candidate,” said Beyer, 51, of Suttons Bay. “Give me a candidate that supports the second amendment, is pro-choice and believes in fiscal responsibility. I’m going to vote for Obama because he’s the least dangerous to my beliefs. Although I’m typically quite conservative, I don’t like the Republican party this time. They’ve gone too far to the right and they’re going to follow party line.”
Denise Bobier-Schoelles was one of several voters who said they were turned off by this year’s mud-slinging campaigns.
“Since the ‘80s, I can’t remember a campaign being so negative,” said Bobier-Schoelles, of Maple City, who voted for the first time in one of the Ronald Reagan presidential elections. “You’re force-fed so much negativity during the campaign and the ads. I have five kids and even the ones that aren’t old enough to vote say, ‘Why is this so negative?’ I think, ‘Give me your opinions on the topic and don’t say what the other guy is going to do. Use the values you got in kindergarten. Be nice and stop being mean.’”
Mary Flowers, of Maple City, said she’s surprised at the animosity between voters with different beliefs.
“For instance, if you’re for Obama, I heard one person say, ‘Oh, Obama, the one who bought the (cable) boxes for the po’ folk,’” she said. “It’s gotten so personal.”
That’s because the stakes are so personal, said Myk Ackerman, of Elmwood Township. Calling himself a Republican Libertarian, Ackerman said he cast his vote for “second amendment rights,” from “the president right down to the prosecutor.”
“I don’t know that much about (State Rep. candidate Ray Franz), but I know the NRA supports him and I support the NRA,” said Ackerman, 49, who sports “Don’t Tread on My Gun Rights” and “Defend Freedom, Defeat Obama” bumper stickers on his truck. “And I like the fact that (U.S. Rep. candidate Dan Benishek) is not a career politician. He’s a physician first, a politician second.”
Flowers thought “very strongly” about electing President Obama to a second term.
“I see him and he’s focused,” said Flowers. “It’s a strong focus, but it’s gentle.”
Flowers was one of dozens of voters who stood in line for nearly an hour Tuesday morning at the Kasson Township precinct, where voting was delayed at one point because of a minor glitch. According to officials, two ballots stuck together, causing a voter to complete the front of one and the back of another, potentially getting voters and ballots out of sync.
It’s U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow’s experience as a politician that caused Dorothy Gamalski to cast her vote for the incumbent.
“I think she’s a good politician,” said Gamalski, 72, who voted in Elmwood Township with her daughter Chris Leah. “I think she’ll do what’s best for the area in the long run.
“And I don’t like her opposition,” Gamalski said, referring to Republican candidate Pete Hoekstra.
Gamalski said she voted yes on the TCAPS bonding proposal that would levy an estimated .45 mill in 2013.
“I think they need an auditorium, they need the arts,” she said, referring to a proposed new auditorium for Traverse City Central High School. “They need science, too, otherwise we’ll be a Third World country before too long. But they need a balance.”
State ballot proposals were uppermost in many Leelanau County voters’ minds.
Jim Schlueter of Suttons Bay said he voted in this year’s election primarily because of Proposal 6, the ballot measure that could delay or block Gov. Rick Snyder’s New International Trade Crossing bridge project.
“I voted against the proposal because I don’t feel one man should control travel back and forth between the countries, which is what he’s doing,” said Schlueter, 63, referring to businessman Manuel (Matty) Moroun, whose family owns the Ambassador Bridge from Michigan to Canada.
The measure is widely viewed as Moroun’s attempt to block Snyder’s plan to build a publicly owned bridge that could draw traffic and toll revenue away from Moroun’s privately owned bridge.