The Williamsburg resident was sporting two “I Voted in Franklin County” election stickers on her red and black-striped shirt.
County election officials need not worry about fraud. She didn’t vote twice. Or even once.
Two-year-old Maleah was sporting the stickers her parents, Tyler and Maggie Davis, had received for voting Tuesday at the community building, 125 W. William St., Williamsburg.
The young couple said they thought it was important to take their daughter to the polls.
“We wanted to get her started early,” Maggie Davis, who works at Great Southern Bank in Ottawa, said with a smile that matched her daughter’s grin.
Her husband nodded in agreement.
“Voting is one of the most important rights we have as Americans,” Tyler Davis, a conductor with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, said.
The Davises indicated they both voted for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
“After the past four years of this economy, it is time for a change,” Tyler Davis, 22, said.
The Davises said the national deficit and education funding are two issues of concern to them.
“I want to make sure [student loans] are available when she gets old enough to go to college,” Maggie Davis said as she patted her daughter’s head.
College loans also were on the mind of Samantha Paulson, 19, Tuesday morning as she strode across the parking lot to cast her vote at the poll in the Pomona Community Building, 219 W. Jefferson St., Pomona.
“As a college student, funding for college loans is one of the issues that is important to me,” Paulson, a student at Ottawa University, 1001 S. Cedar St., Ottawa, said.
Paulson said it is important for voters to be informed before going to the polls.
“I watched all four debates [three presidential and one vice presidential], and I’ve done a lot of outside research — I didn’t just rely on the media,” Paulson said.
Paulson, who said she was looking forward to casting a ballot in her first presidential election, said her conclusion was that the Republican platform offered the best solution for the country.
Gary Bogart, 33, Ottawa, also said he had watched the debates closely, and he concluded Romney was the winner.
“After watching the debates, Romney got my vote,” Bogart said following his trip to the ballot box early Tuesday morning at Ottawa City Hall, 101 S. Hickory St., Ottawa. “It was a tight decision for me. I think President Obama has done a pretty good job, and he did bring [Osama] bin Laden to justice.
“I think the president’s downfall has been the economy,” Bogart said. “He hasn’t been able to fix the economy the past four years. The economy still stinks, and people still can’t find jobs.”
A Casey’s General Store employee, Bogart said he rearranged his schedule to work that night so he could vote during the day.
“I vote every opportunity I can get,” he said.
Rural Williamsburg couple Aaron Mayo, 36, and Vanessa Mayo, 34, said they always exercise their right to vote.
On Tuesday morning, the Mayos had brought along their four children — Adrian, 13, William, 9, Lydia, 7, and Ciara, 3 — to the poll at the Williamsburg Community Building.
“We thought it was important for the kids to understand why it is important that we vote,” Aaron Mayo said.
Vannessa Mayo agreed with her husband. “It’s important for our kids to understand that people have fought for our freedom to vote for whomever we think will make the best leader.”
The Mayos said their children are home-schooled, so Election Day provided a good opportunity to see in person how the process they have been studying about worked.
The Mayos also took their children to events during the August primary race.
“The county races are important, too,” Aaron Mayo said. “And the kids had the chance to meet some of the candidates.”
Young William Mayo vigorously nodded. “I got to meet the sheriff.”
“It’s important for [the kids] to see these are real people, not just names on a ballot,” Vanessa Mayo said.
While he agreed the local and state election races were important, Bogart said the presidential race was the big draw on the ballot for him.
“All the local races had pretty much been decided, but I think the presidential race is going to be close,” Bogart said.
Paulson said she also expected the presidential race to be tightly contested.
“The polls show about a 5-percent differential [between challenger Romney and President Barack Obama], so I think the race will be close,” Paulson said.
Ottawa resident Lynne Evans agreed the presidential race should come down to the wire.
“I think it is going to be a close race, and my vote is going to count,” Evans said, smiling.
A registered Republican, Evans said she doesn’t always vote a straight GOP ticket, but rather votes for who she thinks is the best candidate.
Evans did not tip her hand on which way she voted for president but said, “two issues that concern me are Medicare and taxes.”
The Ottawan, who cast her ballot Tuesday morning at City Hall, said she feared Superstorm Sandy, which last week wreaked havoc on the East Coast — causing billions of dollars in damage and leaving millions of Americans without power — could have hindered some voters’ ability to get out and cast their ballots Election Day.
“I’m not sure if we will know who won the presidential election tonight,” Evans said Tuesday. “Sandy might delay the outcome.”
Paulson seemed more optimistic Americans would know Tuesday night who their next president would be.
“I don’t think Sandy is going to delay the results,” she said. “I think we will know tonight.”
Doug Carder is senior writer for The Herald. Email him at email@example.com