Accessibility links

Voters Around US Weigh in on Election Issues, Candidates

  • VOA News

People line up to vote in the presidential election in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Nov. 8, 2016. (Photo: A. Shaker / VOA)

People line up to vote in the presidential election in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Nov. 8, 2016. (Photo: A. Shaker / VOA)

Voters across the United States spoke to VOA about the issues that are most important to them, and talked about who they voted for and why.

Their opinions and thoughts run the gamut, showing a great deal of passion to accompany their often disparate views.

Michigan firsts

In Dearborn, Michigan, Saudi-born Zahraa Alakashi said she has a lot of concerns about Republican candidate Donald Trump, who has in the past called for a ban on Muslim immigrants coming into the county. Alakashi is voting for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

"That's only my second vote, the first one was for Obama, the first black president, and my second vote is for hopefully the first female president, and I think that's very exciting," she said.

WATCH: Voters on ballot issues

Virginia polls

In McLean, Virginia, outside Washington, Ellis Richard Salvia gave his reasons for supporting Trump.

"To save America from people who are putting America down. Obama and Clinton are putting America down. With open borders and all their executive things," he said. "We want America to be the greatest country in the world. When America is in good shape, the globe is in good shape."

People wait in line to vote in Virginia, outside Washington D.C., Nov. 8, 2016. (Photo: D. Block / VOA)

People wait in line to vote in Virginia, outside Washington D.C., Nov. 8, 2016. (Photo: D. Block / VOA)

Big Apple crunch

In New York, a voter who self-identified as Jamie said she was glad the bitter election season is coming to an end. "It's been awful, I can't wait for it to be over," she said, while expressing hope the winner will be a woman, in a reference to Clinton.

Tony, from Melbourne, Australia, said he came to New York to observe the election, noting he has been an advocate for Trump in Australia for about a year. He said he leads a small group back home — Australians for Trump, comprised of more than 1,000 followers — that meets regularly.

Tony, who came to the U.S. specifically for Election Day, is visiting from Melbourne, Australia, and talks about the candidates, in Times Square, New York, Nov. 8, 2016. (R. Taylor/VOA)

Tony, who came to the U.S. specifically for Election Day, is visiting from Melbourne, Australia, and talks about the candidates, in Times Square, New York, Nov. 8, 2016. (R. Taylor/VOA)

"I come from an immigrant family back home, and I think the way he said it came across wrong, I don't think he hates immigrants because immigration is a good thing," Tony said. "I think with illegal immigration, you could work out something where they could legalize the immigrants and then work on fixing the problem in the future, which I think Trump would be leaning toward with a few of his staff members. That's the way they will go forward, because banning all immigrants is not going to happen."

Voter gets his ballot before voting in presidential election at polling station in New York City, Nov. 8, 2016. (Photo: R. Taylor / VOA)

Voter gets his ballot before voting in presidential election at polling station in New York City, Nov. 8, 2016. (Photo: R. Taylor / VOA)

Mexican-American Lucinda Aragon said of Trump, "I think he's a terrible person, I think he is a bad example for children and adults. As the president of the United States, you have to set an example for everybody, so you have to be a good person, you have to think about us all. And I don't think Donald Trump does that.

Lucinda Aragon (left), dressed in a costume with a Donald Trump mask, said she thinks the Republican candidate's policies are divisive, and she said she is supporting Hillary Clinton, in Times Square, New York, Nov. 8, 2016. (R. Taylor/VOA)

Lucinda Aragon (left), dressed in a costume with a Donald Trump mask, said she thinks the Republican candidate's policies are divisive, and she said she is supporting Hillary Clinton, in Times Square, New York, Nov. 8, 2016. (R. Taylor/VOA)

“I don't think Hillary is the lesser of two evils, I think she [Hillary Clinton] is a splendid candidate, I think she will do great things,” Aragon continued. “I think she will bring us all together. And I think Donald Trump has done nothing but try to tear us apart. If any of you have Instagram or Twitter, you know what I'm talking about. I have lost friends, family members over this. I will be very thankful tonight when it is all over and we can resume our normal activities as Americans who love each other and support each other.”

Texas turnout

In Houston, there has been a steady stream of voters at most of the area's voting locations, though most so far have not been experiencing the long lines that were common all through the two-week early voting period.

Leah Schier throws up her arms after casting her ballot in Dallas, Nov. 8, 2016. "I was so exited to cast my vote for a woman," she said.

Leah Schier throws up her arms after casting her ballot in Dallas, Nov. 8, 2016. "I was so exited to cast my vote for a woman," she said.

In Fort Bend County, southwest of Houston, there was a computer problem at one voting site that delayed operations and resulted in about 100 people waiting in line for an hour before being told to go to another site. Officials say the problem was resolved and that voting is now going smoothly.

In Montgomery County, north of Houston, which is considered one of the most conservative in the United States, voting was light at one major polling place. Last week during early voting, lines were moderately long. Trump supporters, as expected, dominated voting there, based on informal queries of voters, whereas the mix between Clinton and Trump was much more mixed in Harris County, which is mostly within the Houston city limits.

In past elections, the voting totals in Harris County have been quite close, with the Republican candidate usually in the lead.

Philly flavor

In Pennsylvania, Philadelphia resident Aurora Davis said women's issues are key to her vote.

"Definitely women's issues, someone who will support my interests, be a voice for me: Hillary Clinton. I don't think Donald Trump is supporting women's issues," she said.

Voters wait in line to cast their ballots in the US presidential election in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Nov. 8, 2016. (Photo: A. Shaker / VOA)

Voters wait in line to cast their ballots in the US presidential election in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Nov. 8, 2016. (Photo: A. Shaker / VOA)

Polling places in downtown Philadelphia featured long lines at mid-morning, hours after polls opened at 7 a.m. Up and down Broad Street, a main thoroughfare in Philadelphia, voters in a wide range of age groups waited patiently in line.

At one polling palace, children from a nearby charter school spent their day off waving signs to passing cars, encouraging people to get out and vote. Poll workers set out boxes upon boxes of donuts for the waiting voters. Many voters were reluctant to say who they would vote for in the presidential race, but some expressed concern about the direction in which the country was headed, along with the divisive rhetoric of this presidential campaign.

In the northern African-American neighborhoods of Philadelphia, many voters declined to speak with media. The election judge for Ward 16, Division 1 did address concerns about a voting machine that had been found unlocked Tuesday morning. After being assured the machine would reset to zero, the judge put it to use.

The local Philadelphia Republican Party and Mike Roman, the head of election protection for the Trump campaign, have tweeted throughout the day about reports of voter fraud in Philadelphia — including reports of electioneering, and election judges entering the voting booth to speak with voters. One Trump poll watcher claimed he left a polling place after being threatened with a belt.

Volunteers at Ward 16 in Philadelphia said Trump poll watchers "had come and gone."

VOA’s Kane Farabaugh in Dearborn, Michigan, June Soh in McLean, Virginia, Katherine Gypson in Philadelphia, Ramon Taylor in New York, and Greg Flakus in Houston contributed to this report.

Show comments

XS
SM
MD
LG