Casting their votes: Traffic steady at Kenai Peninsula polls

Posted: Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Central Kenai Peninsula voters are concerned about how public money is spent, favor parental consent before minors have abortions and are still willing to change their minds on candidates in the general election, the Clarion's exit polling at three voting locations on Tuesday showed.

Photo By M. Scott Moon
Photo By M. Scott Moon
Emma Lines, center, watches her mother, Adelle Lines, vote Tuesday at the Kenai Mall with her siblings Sarah, Seth and Jacob. Poll workers reported a steady stream of voters during the afternoon hours.

In Kenai, residents favored both propositions, tended toward gubernatorial incumbent Sean Parnell but preferred to see a fresh face in the U.S. Senate.

"We both voted Parnell for governor, both Joe Miller for senator, Ramras for lt. governor and voted yes on both propositions," said Sheryl Main, 48, a home executive, speaking for her husband and voting mate, Rick, 52, a mechanic.

Another married couple, Lori and Cheney McLennan, cast similar votes together, too.

"We're hoping for Joe Miller and Ralph Samuels for governor," said Lori, 45, a food service represntative.

"We've got to keep Don in there," said Cheney, 56, an excavating contractor.

They both voted no on ballot measure 1 and yes on ballot measure 2.

Steve and Ruth Wendt voted yes on both propositions, in support of prohibiting the use of public funds to lobby or campaign as well as for parental notification for minors seeking abortions. But on the candidates the two voted differently.

"We probably cancelled each other out on that," said Ruth, a nurse. "I voted for Lisa and Sean Parnell."

Steve said he just generally voted for new and different.

"Not the status quo," he said.

Other voters trickled into the booths with somewhat varying opinions.

While Mavis Pearson, a 64-year-old retiree voted "straight Republican" for the candidates, she said she voted no on the parental notification initiative.

"There were too many kids in high school who got pregnant and had no choice. I don't think you should have to pay the rest of your life for one mistake," she said.

She said she voted yes on ballot measure 1.

Ralph Pullins, 57, a correctional officer, said he voted for Bill Walker for the Republican candidate for governor as well as Miller for U.S. Senate.

He said he voted yes on the two ballot measures.

And other residents voted for retaining most incumbents.

Ron Goecke, a 68-year-old retired businessman said he voted for Miller, too. But for governor and U.S. representative he filled in the dot for incumbents Parnell and Young.

Jill Groenen, 44, a medical receptionist, said she voted for Murkowski, Parnell and Young and held the party line on the ballot measures.

"I voted yes on the measure for abortions, parental consent, and I voted yes on the banning public funds for lobbying," she said.

At the Nikiski Senior Center, many voted against public funding for lobbying and campaigns.

Barry Jackman, a Homer Electric systems operator, voted for Ralph Samuels, Joe Miller, Don Young and Mike Chenault (on the Republican ballot for state representative).

Jackman, 39, voted yes on the ballot measure to ban public funding for political campaigns and lobbying.

"The money in the election process is destroying our political system," he said.

Jeanette Borchardt, 68, only voted on the ballot measures. She approved banning public funds in the election process and believed that parents should be notified if their children have an abortion.

"I'm a mother from way back. I have children and would like to know what's going on in their lives," the retiree said.

Retiree Mike McBride voted against the abortion measure.

"It's just another government mandate," he said. "We're just getting nannied to death."

Jaunita Griffith, 58, felt the abortion initiative didn't take into pregnancies resulting in rape, incest and molestation.

"It's her choice; not a man's choice," she said.

At Soldotna City Hall, voters were in favor of proposition 2.

"I think parents have a right to know what their kids are doing," Catherine Thomas, who teaches home school in Soldotna, said. "It's a dramatic step for a teenager to take."

Kala Reyna, who works at Air Supply Alaska, said she is pro life. "I believe a parent has the right to step in and say no. They might be willing to support it."

"As a parent, if my daughter wanted to have one, I would like to know," said administrative assistant Joy McCaul. "I would like to know in case there were any complications."

McCaul said she voted against proposition 1.

"I don't believe the government has a right to tell me where to work or how to vote," McCaul said. "Isn't this supposed to be a free society? If this was a tyranny I could understand it."

Mark Raymond said he voted for proposition 1.

"I believe that funding should be available for those that don't have it. It should be public," Raymond said.

Unlike many voters, Raymond voted no on parental consent for abortions.

"Women have a right to make a choice," Raymond said.

He said he knows a lot of women that would have been in trouble if they couldn't have had an abortion.

"If they would have had (the baby), it probably would have ruined their life," Raymond said.

Patty Boyce, an in-home caregiver, voted for Murkowski, Young and Miller.

Boyce, 57, voted for the ban on public money used for lobbying and campaign efforts.

"We don't need a bunch of money from the taxpayers going into campaigns," she said. "It should be our choice."

Chilly Polettius, a millwright, voted for the Republican candidates on the ticket. He doesn't support abortion, but disagrees with government intrusion more.

"I don't care for porn; I don't care for a lot of things. But that doesn't mean others can't like them," he said. "That's what our country is all about."

Roger Long, 69, voted for the Democratic candidate this primary. The retired Department of Education employee found the public funding ban to all encompassing.

"The first (measure) seemed like a good idea, but was worded improperly," he said.

He found the abortion measure unnecessary as well.

"If she comes from a decent family, she'll discuss it with her parents and they'll respect her decision," he said. "Her parents will know anyway."

Joe Rogers, who works in insurance, also had strong words on the ballot measure.

"We're running out of government funds. Funds should be used for the basics like education. I don't want money being spent toward politics," Rogers said. "I'm hoping the candidates will spend their own money rather than taking taxpayer dollars."



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