Voters’ voices: Sense of duty, privilege and a 15-hour trip

Voting in Granite Shoals

James and Sherry McAnally (left) and Beatriz Sanchez (right) drove to the Granite Shoals Community Center during lunch to cast their votes during the 2020 election. Staff photos by Jennifer Fierro

The lines to vote midday on Election Day at several Highland Lakes polling locations were short and moving quickly.

At the Granite Shoals Community Center, residents on their lunch break stopped by to vote in one of the facility’s four voting booths. They were in and out of the process in minutes. 

Sherry and James McAnally have lived in the city for a year. James said he has voted in every election since he was 21 — 52 years ago.  

“I vote because it’s a privilege we have,” he said. “The difference this year from past years: There’s been a lot going on that we haven’t dealt with in the past. That’s why I feel my vote is more important this year than in the past.”

Sherry, who emerged from the community center a few minutes after her husband, also voted on issues. She was one of only two people waiting to vote after James. They waited to vote on Election Day because they were uncertain of where to vote during the three weeks of early voting. 

Beatriz Sanchez, who has lived in Granite Shoals for 22 years, said she has voted for eight years now. The crucial issues for her relate to the Hispanic community. 

“It’s important to me to elect a good president and good people,” she said. “It’s important to my community.”

Voting in Burnet
LEFT: Kaden Sanders cast his first-ever vote at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension building in Burnet on Tuesday. RIGHT: Jeff and Liz Kneller planned to show off their shorts and 80-degree weather to friends in their home state of Illinois after voting in Burnet. Staff photos by Suzanne Freeman

At the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension building in Burnet, a handful of voters moved in and out quickly. 

Kaden Sanders, 19, of Burnet said he was thrilled to be voting for his first time ever. A student at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, he has been taking classes from home but was about to head back to campus after casting his ballot. 

“I did my research ahead of time,” he said. “I knew who I wanted to vote for.”

On his list were some local favorites, including Burnet County Commissioner Jim Luther, who is running unopposed for reelection.

“It’s crazy times,” he said. “You need to make sure you vote for the right person. That’s it.”

Newcomers to the area, Jeff and Liz Kneller posed for photos in front of the “Vote Here” sign. 

“Be sure you can see we are in shorts,” they told the photographer. The day was sunny and warm, especially compared to their home of a year ago in Illinois. 

“I think it’s important to vote on Election Day,” Liz said. “We’re kind of old school. That’s how it used to be.” 

Jeff, a retired police officer of 30 years, said voting was a civic duty he does not ever miss.

“It’s part of being a part of this country,” he said.

Voting in Burnet
Kimberly Finke was inspired to vote on Election Day by her 16-year-old daughter, who is counting down to when she is old enough to have a say. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman

Kimberly Finke, a Marble Falls Realtor who lives in Burnet, said she came to vote today because of her 16-year-old daughter. 

“She mentioned last night that she can’t vote now, but she’ll turn 18 under whoever wins, so it’s important for her,” she said. “Kids at school tell her she doesn’t have a right to her opinion because she’s only 16 and can’t vote, but she’s done her research. She knows the issues.” 

Voting in Kingsland
Tad Dawidowicz flew about 15 hours just to come home in time to vote on Election Day. Staff photo by Alex Copeland

All was also quiet at the Kingsland Branch Library as just a handful of voters made their way into the polling location early in the afternoon. 

Kingsland resident Tad Dawidowicz said he was on an extended trip after the death of his sister and traveled a long way to make it back in time to vote.

“I traveled yesterday, and, two days ago, I spent around 15 hours in the air just to come here today to vote,” Dawidowicz said. “I was on the plane, and nothing could stop me.”

Dawidowicz said he votes out of a sense of patriotic duty. 

“Why am I here? God bless America. God save America. America is a free country,” he said. “These days, I don’t know what will happen. I hope my president will win.”

Brian Dunn, a welder from Kingsland, had a similar sentiment. At first, he wasn’t sure he was going to vote, and he held off until Election Day before deciding.

“But I decided I needed to,” Dunn said. “It’s our country. It’s the whole point of everything.” 

He said no special issue sent him to the polls other than that. 

“Except maybe to cancel out my stepmom’s vote. Nothing else,” he said.

You can follow Election Day news and results on DailyTrib.com as our team of reporters visits with voters at the polls and reports results as they come in and reactions from party leaders and candidates.

editor@thepicayune.com

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