SW La. voters cite social issues, economics as factors in decision

By By Eric Cormier / American Press

Political affiliation, economics, science and race played key parts in the decision-making process for some Lake Area voters

Tuesday.

The American Press visited five polling precincts and spoke to voters after they left voting machines.

From Ray D. Molo Middle School to Prien Lake Park, the thoughts voters expressed varied.

James Offord, 58, voted at Molo.

“I’m Democrat. I voted everything Democrat,” said Offord, who said he has voted since the age of 18. “Republicans tell nothing

but bull.”

Voting for President Barack Obama was a no-brainer for Offord, and he expressed discontent with Republican challenger Mitt

Romney.

“He and the Republicans already said what they stand for,” he said. “Romney doesn’t care about poor people, and I take him

at his word.”

Darrell Offord, 31, voted for the second time in his life.

His vote was based on social issues that he feels have affected his own livelihood.

“I voted for President Obama because racism still exists, especially in Louisiana. They may not show it on television, but

it exists,” he said.

Offord said he has been unemployed a few weeks after running into on-the-job problems that he attributes to racial prejudice.

By voting for President Obama, Offord felt he was supporting the cause for racial equality.

Monica Parker, 37, voted at Ralph Wilson Elementary. Casting her vote for president was important, but she realized that the

nine amendments on the ballot were worth considering before entering the voting booth.

“It was listed in the newspaper, and that breakdown helped,” she said. “My son was torn on how to vote because he did not

understand the amendments.”

Parker said conversations with people in the neighborhood near the precinct led her to believe many voters were ill-informed

about the ballot.

“They did knot know about the amendments, tax renewals and other things. All they thought was that they were casting their

vote for president.”

Colton Kocemba, 23, voted at St. Louis High.

The presidential race was the most important aspect of the election for him.

“The allocation of science funding is

why I paid attention to it. The prior administration (Bush) limited

funding. In my opinion,

you have to have the ability to spend money in the sciences to get

rid of disease. President Obama funds the sciences, and

that makes me happy,” he said.

Kocemba did not fully understand all of the amendments, but made decisions he was comfortable with.

At Drew Park, Bradley Holz, 26, said the presidential election and a decision on school board term limits were important issues

to him.

“Obviously, there are a lot of changes going on. It is very important to get someone who will help us out of the economic

slump the nation is in,” he said of the presidential election.

Holz said he supported term limits “to keep people from getting lackadaisical.”

James McDaniel, 67, voted at Prien Lake Park.

He said the presidential vote was the most important issue he wanted to cast a ballot on.

“There are a lot of issues that need to be fixed. Too many to talk about,” he said.

McDaniel felt term limits on school board members was needed.

“If they have a shorter period of time, they ought to get something done,” he said.

Lou Estes, 78, said economics and personal beliefs influenced his vote for president.

“For the economy, Mitt Romney is the best man to get it back to where it was,” he said. “I also want a president that is a

God-fearing man and not completely for Islam.”