NW Ind. voters cast ballots

May 6, 2008 3:15:44 PM PDT
Voters in two states are having their say in the Democratic race for the White House Tuesday as primary elections are under way in Indiana and North Carolina.One hundred eighty-seven delegates are at stake in the two states. Voters in Indiana could achieve record turnout for a primary election as the Democratic presidential race heads down to the wire.

By 6 a.m. Tuesday, voters from East Chicago, Indiana were lined up ready to go. Some voters described the atmosphere as having an unusual feeling. Usually, by the time primary elections roll around to Indiana, the candidates have already been chosen, but this year, the situation is different. Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama are in a tight race, and every vote from the Hoosier state counts.

Even as voter Manny Rodriguez walked up to the booth Tuesday in East Chicago, he said he still was not sure which candidate he would choose.

"I'm pretty much undecided. It's a toss up. I'll make my decision in a few minutes," he said.

The most coveted demographic in Tuesday's election is white, working-class voters. Exit polls from the Pennsylvania primary election showed that Barack Obama was failing to connect with that group of voters, but in East Chicago Tuesday, members of that group appeared to be split down the middle.

When asked which candidate she supported, voter Lyn Miglieri said:

"Obama. I have more faith in him. I have faith that he'll do a good job."

Dave Ralowksi, another voter, said he was supporting Hillary Clinton.

"I like her programs, [such as] health care. Actually, I like everything about the lady," he said.

There is a large Latino population throughout northwest Indiana, and recent polls from the area show Latinos favor Clinton over Obama. In fact, almost every Latino voter ABC7 Chicago spoke with in the area Tuesday was supporting Clinton.

"I'm with Hillary, that woman is Hilary Clinton. There's a saying, 'The best man for the job is a woman,' and that woman is Hillary Clinton, " voter Susan Avina said.

"We are all for Hilary. I have been campaigning, and we're all for Hillary," voter Connie Pantoja.

Across the state of Indiana, Obama and Clinton are in a statistical dead heat. Voters from northwest Indiana said that was not surprising.

"A lot of people are supporting Hillary. A lot of people are supporting Barack. It's like half and half; you just don't know," said voter Marcia Mack.

When asked which candidate she supported, Mack said, "Obama. All the way!"

Sen. Barack Obama was busy trying to get voters to the polls Tuesday.

"I think both races are going to be close. So, they could go either way, but I'm feeling positive. [We've] moved on from Reverend Wright to issues that matter to the American people," Obama told ABC7 Chicago's Hosea Sanders by telephone Tuesday morning.

Indiana voters are reminded at valid state identification is required to vote. Polls in Indiana are open until 6 p.m.

Heavy voter turnout also is expected in the North Carolina, the Tar Heel state, Tuesday. Nearly 500,000 people who were not able to go to the polls Tuesday cast early and absentee ballots.


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