EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado - As voters exited polling places in Eagle County on Tuesday and talked about their choices for president, the closeness of the national race was evident right here in Eagle County.
Upvalley polling locations saw steady streams of voters Tuesday morning and afternoon, even though Eagle County Clerk Teak Simonton estimated that roughly 80 percent of the total expected votes cast in the county would come from mail-in and absentee ballots, as well as early voting.
Local voters were generally decisive about who they voted for, but there were also some voters who said the decision between President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney was tough. Some voters looked at the choice as the lesser of two evils - to vote for the guy they hate less than the other guy. Plenty of other voters were unequivocal in their decisions.
Marguerite McEvoy is registered as an unaffiliated voter in Eagle County. She ultimately went with Obama, she said, and made the choice just two weeks ago.
"It was a really tough decision for me, so I just voted because I thought (Obama) was the better of the two options, and mainly because I have a lot of friends who are gay and I wanted to support them," McEvoy said. "If there had been a better Republican candidate I would have voted for them."
Daniel Thompson, 39, is a lifelong Republican and believes Mitt Romney is the only choice for president. He's fiscally conservative, pro-life and believes in traditional marriage between a man and a woman. He said he thinks that Romney is the better choice for those reasons and many more.
Two women in their 20s exited the Eagle-Vail polling place in disagreement about who should be president. Both women did not want to give their names.
The first woman grew up Republican and doesn't believe Obama has a record he can defend. She said the country needs a change.
Her friend, however, is a registered Democrat and said she doesn't "think one president can do much in four years." She added that she feels Romney's views on certain issues, such as gay marriage and abortion, are "archaic."
Her Republican friend butted in and said that criticism of Romney is just the Obama campaign talking. The women laughed at each other, though, despite their differences.
Another 25-year-old woman, who also wished to remain anonymous, said she thinks Obama has done a good job so far and voted for him "to see what the next four years are like."
Derick Monroy, 27, wasn't happy with either candidate for president and voted for the independent, Gary Johnson. When asked whether that was a wasted vote, he said everyone is entitled to vote for whomever they choose.
He said his vote for Johnson was because he thinks Obama has "no spine," and Romney just "tells people what they want to hear."
But Ed Sampson, 51, felt the choice was fairly easy - Obama hasn't done a good job and it's time for a change, he said. He voted for Romney.
A middle-aged woman left her polling place Tuesday and said she just made up her mind on Monday. She is registered as unaffiliated and thought she was going to vote for Romney until she asked herself if she's better off today than she was four years ago. She said that she is, so that's why she voted for Obama.
She said her son, however, just graduated college and is living at home, having trouble finding a job. She wasn't sure who he was voting for, but she said he was still undecided Monday, too.
Juanita Trujillo had one big issue on her mind when she voted Tuesday - the middle class. She voted for Obama.
"To me, I don't think (Romney) is going to provide for the middle class people," Trujillo said.
Assistant Managing Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.