Voter voices from South Dakota primary election

Voices of voters in South Dakota’s primary election Tuesday:

Sara Smith, a 36-year-old stay-at-home mother of two, said she voted for John Kasich in Tuesday’s primary. Smith, a registered Republican who recently moved to Sioux Falls from Illinois, said her vote served more as a vote against Donald Trump.

“I really don’t care what his political stances are,” Smith said of Trump. “I just don’t like how he talks to people. He’s rude and arrogant.”

Smith said she considers herself an independent and would have voted for Bernie Sanders if she had been given a Democratic ballot. Education and health care are important issues for her, she said, and she recently took an online quiz and found that she agrees with Sanders on most issues.

Bob Burhenn, 82, a retired businessman who is registered as a Democrat, said he voted for Hillary Clinton because it’s time to put a woman in the nation’s highest office.

“I just want to see a woman in there for a change,” Burhenn said. “Men have been in charge long enough. And they’re smarter than us, anyway.”

Burhenn said he was once a Republican but changed party within the last 15 years. He said he was a big supporter of Bill Clinton’s presidency.

“I thought that Bill did a hell of a job,” Burhenn said. “I think he’s going to help her and they’ll just be good.”

Sean Pollman, a small businessman who is registered as an independent, voted in the Democratic primary for Bernie Sanders because he thinks he’s a much better option than Hillary Clinton.

“It’s not Clinton. That’s the main thing,” Pollman, 32, said. “Her stance on everything is always so wishy-washy. It’s very obvious that corporate media is behind her. And if you look past the corporate media, she’s always changing her mind.”

Pollman said he does not agree with everything Sanders stands for, but he feels that Sanders has a better chance at beating Donald Trump than Clinton.

Carol Robertson, a 69-year-old retiree who formerly worked for a nonprofit, said she voted for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary because Clinton shares her views on helping people.

“We care about people and those who are in need,” Robertson said. “Compared to Trump, there’s just no comparison. She’s my kind of person.”

Robertson, a registered Democrat, said she believes Clinton is more in tune with people, their needs and their struggles than Bernie Sanders.

Kelli Fahey, a 36-year-old Sioux Falls resident who works in child protection, said she voted for Bernie Sanders.

“I guess I just wanted someone different instead of one of the Clintons back in office,” she said. “I believe it would be a good showdown between Sanders and Trump.”

Fahey said she has ignored a lot of the recent coverage about delegate counts but did hear that Clinton had secured the nomination before she went to vote. She said she feels the media was trying to give the nomination to Clinton.

“I try to stay away from that because I think they try to sway voters a bit,” she said.

Paul Westendorf, a 53-year-old Sioux Falls resident who works in financial services, said he voted for Trump in the Republican primary but wished he had other viable options. He said it was more about “finding what I dislike the least.”

“It’s hard to get a read on what he really stands for, and I think that some of that is intentional,” Westendorf said of Trump.

Westendorf is strongly anti-abortion, and he said he’s uncomfortable because he doesn’t have a good sense of Trump’s true stance on that issue.

But he said Trump can surround himself with competent people and he hopes make them a great team.

Marcia Hart, a 47-year-old billing coordinator from Sioux Falls who is a registered Democrat, said she voted for Bernie Sanders.

“He is the most progressive candidate, and we need a progressive candidate,” she said. She liked his economic stance and said he is listening to people who are part of the Black Lives Matter movement more than most candidates.

She said is not fond of Hillary Clinton and her support of the crime bill during her husband’s presidency. Hart said she believes the bill failed minorities.

“I don’t trust her,” she of Clinton. “I don’t care for her.”

John Vander Waal, an 88-year-old retiree, said he voted for Trump.

“I think he’s telling people what they want to hear,” Vander Waal said. “People are fed up in the way things are going in this country now and they think he can change it.

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