Local voters come to polls to exercise right, help to solve critical issues
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Even with the lulls of the day, Rapid City residents made a point to get to the polls.
While most would agree voting is a civic duty, the things that brought voters to the polls varied this election year. Some were concerned with the handling of COVID-19, the legalization of marijuana within the state, and social unrest across the country.
“I’m just tired of everything that’s going around, going around in the world, especially here,” said voter and business owner, Johnny Osborne. “It’s just a lot of bad, a lot of negative.”
Osborne is a first-time voter, and says he wanted his voice heard this election. While he wants to see change, he was also very pleased with the direction the state has taken in not shutting down, as it’s kept his business from going under. Others do not share the sentiment, believing that the health of citizens should be the priority, and state and U.S. leadership should be doing more to keep people safe.
“I don’t think money issues should be the reason why we shouldn’t be shutting down and we should be open,” said first-time voter Samuel King. “It’s the citizens first, not money first.
“In all honesty, one of the big things I think for me was legalizing marijuana,” said Joseph Durst. “I think it’s very important, it’s not a class one drug, it really helps the community and helps people that have certain illnesses and diseases, to help them ease the pain. And I think it’s important that we realize that this drug is more helpful than it is considered hurtful.”
“I’m just here to support love,” said Jeffrey Allen Smith. “I don’t like people being persecuted, I don’t like people being judged, and I feel like our country’s kind of fallen into some bad habits.”
Many voters said while their single votes may not account for much nationally, they realize it is most important for them to be heard on a local level. Voter Derrick Ratliff said the issues he is concerned about in Rapid City are youth suicide, drugs, and education.
“It’s where you live at where your vote counts the most,” said Ratliff. “It’s how you can change your neighborhood, how you can change the problems in your neighborhood. The resources your neighborhood has.”
Many voters around the country opted for early and absentee voting, but those who cast their ballots in person, said there is nothing else like it.
King said, “It’s important to get down here in person. One, it feels good and two it’s just your civic duty as a citizen of the United States; it’s what you gotta do.”
“There’s something, maybe it’s ritualistic, but there’s just something special about coming out in person to vote,” said Smith. “And I just really found that very special and I held off until now because I wanted to show up in person.”