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The Voice of the Black Community


A ballot and a voice
Election Day sparks voters' interest
Published Tuesday, November 6, 2012 5:20 pm

Although the numbers of early voters may have reached record highs this year, millions of Americans cast their ballots on Tuesday.

Tony Phifer was among them. Phifer said he would have preferred early voting but was unable to because he was out of town on business.
Phifer cast his vote for President Barack Obama Tuesday morning at the McCrory YMCA in West Charlotte. Phifer, who says he has operated his own towing company for nearly three decades, believes the Obama administration has been good for business.

“We’ve got to have him back in there,” he said. “I’m a small business owner and his policies have made a difference in getting people back to work… It’s been a good thing for me.”

Phifer said he voted for Obama in 2008, and believes the president has moved the country forward in the past four years.

“From a business stand point it made a big difference,” he said. “I’ve seen a profit overall, even though I had to wait for everything to turn back around… Four years ago, I was doing two trucks. I’m up to doing six trucks now.”

Phifer says his company also employs more workers than it did four years ago.

Sandra Hill also voted in West Charlotte on Tuesday. She says this year was special because she was joined at the polls by her son, Tony, 21, who was voting for the first time.

“I made him register and sign up so that we could come down here and vote,” she said. “It feels great. Every vote counts.”

In addition to her son, Hill also brought one of his friends, 23-year-old Cameron Alexander, along with them to vote. It was Alexander’s second time voting. He first voted for Obama in the 2008 election, and says the President can count on his vote again this year.
“I want him to keep on doing what he is doing.”

Voter apathy for local races
Many voters said their primary reason for participating in Tuesday’s election was to cast their ballot for president. They had little to no interest in local politics.

“My main focus was on the presidential race,” said Janice Agers. “I just wasn’t paying attention to (local politics). I paid some attention to the judges on the ballot, but for the most part my main focus was just on the Presidential election.”

Michelle Alexander also said her primary concern Tuesday was the presidential election. When asked if there were local issues she felt strongly about, Alexander replied: “Not really.”

She says she just wanted to make sure that the right person was elected commander in chief, and she believes Obama is.

“He makes sure that we (the middle class) are not forgotten in the equation,” she said. “He has done a good job of keeping us in the conversation about health care, making sure that we can afford it and have access to what we need."

While Cavin Fertil agrees that the presidential election is important, he believes down-ballot elections are just as important.

“A lot of people want to focus their attention on Capitol Hill and the White House,” he said. “But the things that affect us most are the things that go on here. For that reason, it is very important to vote for your local politicians... While President Obama has the entire United States to worry about, I need to have folks like (U.S. Rep.) Mel Watt and (N.C. Sen.) Malcolm Graham who are accountable for what my needs are while I’m living here in Charlotte.”

He said anyone who is supports Obama should be just as concerned about voting for local members of Congress because they play a key role in helping the president advance his agenda.

“If you don’t get the right senator or legislature in office, then you won’t get the right people backing the president,” he said.

Pam Reynolds traveled over an hour Monday night from Advance, N.C. to campaign for her brother-in-law Gary Henderson, who is running for district court judge. While she is not from Mecklenburg County, she says its residents should pay close attention to local elections.

“You’ve got to think about home first,” she said. “The presidential election is important. We’ve got to have that, but we’ve also got to have officers here, locally. That’s very important because they are the ones that know what is going on in the community.”

Henderson’s wife, Karen King-Henderson, also advocates for people to be more enthused with local politics.

“There are many local issues that I think we need to work on,” she said. “Our education is one. I also think our voting process needs to be (amended). I worked in the University area during early voting, and a lot of handicapped and disabled people had to get out of their car to come in and vote. One elderly lady had an asthma attack and was told that she was not disabled enough. That is something that we definitely have to work on.”


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