SARANAC LAKE - President Barack Obama was the favorite of voters in Essex and Franklin counties on Tuesday, winning both counties by wide margins.
Obama won Franklin County with 9,065 votes to Mitt Romney's 5,248. In Essex County, Obama received 8,805 votes while Romney collected 5,976.
In the town of Harrietstown, which Obama ultimately won by a two-to-one margin, the first half dozen people the Enterprise interviewed at random in the town hall said they had voted to give the president another four years in the White House.
A group of voters huddle around a map of the battleground states in the presidential race, drawn by Saranac Lake political cartoonist Mark Wilson, during an election night event at BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)
"I wanted to vote for someone who had the little guy or the middle-class folks in mind, and that would move our country in the direction that would be shared responsibility," said Bernadette Burns of Saranac Lake.
"I'm more of a letting Obama finished what he started," said Zach, a 23-year-old from Saranac Lake who declined to give his last name. "I really just do not like Romney at all. I just think he's in it for himself and the glory of being president. Obama's there for the people."
Margaret Oldfield and her daughter Maureen, both of Saranac Lake, said they both voted for Obama.
"I think he's been a good president, and I think he will take us forward," Maureen Oldfield said. "He's done a good job."
Romney supporters, however, told the Enterprise the country needed to move in another direction.
"I don't think we can afford another four years," said Jim Zolko of Saranac Lake. "Obama's record stands for itself. Our national debt is incredible, and our grandchildren won't be able to pay it off if we keep going in the path we're going. I feel that Romney has a lot more experience in economics and business. If he's done it corporately, he can certainly do it for the country, to get us on the right path quicker."
Zolko's fiancee, Cherrie Sayles, also voted for Romney, saying he has the "vision" the country needs. She felt Romney would be more supportive of the free market system and said she has concerns about Obamacare.
"I know a lot of the doctors don't like it," she said. "I don't know whether it's going to fix our health care system or break it. I don't see a lot of improvement under Obama. If the economy is getting better, I think it's in spite of him, not because of him."
On the Enterprise Facebook page, several people said they voted for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, who was the top minor party candidate in Essex and Franklin counties, collecting 123 and 107 votes, respectively.
"Time to break the two party stranglehold on America," posted Stuart Nichols of Tupper Lake.
Whomever they supported, most people said they were just hopeful there would be a clear winner before they went to bed.
Saranac Lake village Trustee and Rice Furniture co-owner Barbara Rice, a Democrat who voted for Obama, said she planned to stay up late watching the returns come in.
"I love this," she said. "It's like the Super Bowl for me. I've done it for every election. I'm ridiculous. Everybody else goes to bed, and I'm usually all alone."
A large group of people showed up for an election night event at BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake that was put on by the liberal group Voters for Change. Emceed by local DJ Pat McAvoy, it featured performances of campaign songs by Brian Dewan and updates on the many races around the region and across the country. A map of the battleground states in the presidential race, drawn by Saranac Lake political cartoonist Mark Wilson, was posted on the wall, with each state colored red or blue as the returns came in.
Many voters told the Enterprise they're just grateful the months of campaigning will finally be over, and they were optimistic that the nation will now be able to move forward.
"One thing that's been very clear to me over the last four years is one man cannot make changes; it requires cooperation," Burns said. "That's what I hope we see coming up, people cooperating and willing to work for the good of the country."
Contact Chris Knight at 518-891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.