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San Diego Voters Motivated by Primary’s Significance

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

(Photo: Students at the SDSU polling site. Kelli Enger, KPB S)

Election officials in San Diego and around California have been predicting record voter turnout on this Super Tuesday. In San Diego county, there were few early rushes to vote. KPBS reporters sampled voters in three different areas, and came away with very similar voter opinions.

We begin with KPBS reporter Amy Isackson.

Voters across San Diego's Southbay had different ideas this morning about who to nominate to run for President of the United States.

But all of the voters I talked with agreed that its time for a change.

"My name is Raymond Leyva and I live in Chula Vista. We're at the fork in the road in regards to the direction our country is headed in."

"My name is Cheryl Sanchez and I am at Clearview Elementary School. Whether we agree or disagree, we just need honesty. That's the basis of how things should run."

"My name is Robert Carillo and I am in Chula Vista, California. The American dream has been shattered. There's a lot of uncertainty out there. We need intelligent people to direct us in the right direction."

From ending the war in Iraq, to:

"Moral authority, definitely the economy, health insurance -- because I have none."

Voter after voter talked about how they were drawn to the polls today in large part to repair the damage that's been done during the last seven years.

Jerry Gerenna had just cast his vote in at Temple Beth Shalom in Chula Vista.

He says, in addition, this election is just plain exciting.

Gerenna : You know I'm a big time Charger fan and anytime there's a great game going on. This Superbowl was fantastic. So, I see it that way, where in the past it's been: 'why even bother to vote?'

Gerenna says this time around, it feels like his vote will make a difference.

Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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I'm Nicole Lozare.

The predominantly African-American community of Southeast San Diego woke up to a quiet start Tuesday morning.

There were no lines of eager voters waiting for the polls to open. There was no last minute campaigning with supporters waving signs at major intersections.

The Gompers Charter School precinct only had one voter an hour and half after the polls opened. At a double poll location, voters trickled in about every five to 10 minutes.

But those who cast their vote early came for varied reasons. From issue-based to having their share of a historical election.

"A lot of my friends are ready to vote. Because, we've never had anything of this magnitude. A woman and then a black male."

"The war has ought to be stopped. We gotta get out of there because we're killing our boys. I spent three years in the Army Medical Corps and I know exactly what it's like."

The border.

"We're going to hell in a handbasket if we don't straighten this out. I mean, hospitals have had to close, I mean our economy in San Diego has gone straight down in the last 20 to 30 years because of it."

"Right now, funding. That's a major part right now just for low-income , low income families. I think they need to be heard right now."

Poll workers said they did expect the numbers to pick up this evening when voters get off work.

Nicole Lozare, KPBS News.

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I'm Ed Joyce.

People in the South Mission Beach area showed up at Gabbiano Pizza on this chilly morning to cast their votes as the faint scent of oregano and tomato sauce lingered in the air.

To the right of the deli case and cash register are the voting booths in this small restaurant. One touch screen machine was also available.

Poll worker Sharon Lacey opened the door at seven.

Lacey: The polls are open.

Poll worker Melanie Buros says the turnout was lighter here than in past years because more people are voting by mail.

The theme of  "change" was the mantra I heard over and over from most of the early voters.

This former San Diego State University Professor, slightly over 60 years old, called it an historic time.

"So I think it's a wonderful period in the country's history when we have an African-American on the ballot. Something I'm very proud of for our country."

Most of the voters, women and men, young and old, sounded the theme of change. This man in his 20s best typifies the comments we heard most often.

"I'd kind of like to see a change. You know there's things that I dislike about the current stuff going on. So definitely I think there's going to be a change this coming year."

One voter came in the door and asked for two pieces of pizza and a ballot. In South Mission Beach, a slice of change was what many ordered up.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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