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How Will Granville County Voters Cast Their Ballots This Year?

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Granville County is a swing county in a swing state. In 2008 and 2012, voters there went for Barack Obama by healthy margins. But the county flipped in 2016, going for Trump by two percentage points.

Meet some Granville County residents and see how they're planning to vote this November:

Waltye Blackwell
Waltye Blackwell
Credit Rusty Jacobs / WUNC
Waltye Blackwell

Blackwell, 41, is a single mother of three, ages 6 to  16. She cuts hair at Major League Barbershop, in Creedmoor, North Carolina. She has had to hold down a job and help guide her kids through remote learning. She’s eager to see them back in school but said she wants them to be safe and understands the need to slowly reopen schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Blackwell is a registered Democrat and voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 but said she hasn’t made up her mind yet about this year’s presidential race. Health insurance is a big concern of hers.

"I would like to see more affordable health care for middle class working people or older people that work, that may be on a fixed income," she said.

Tom Daniel
Tom Daniel
Credit Rusty Jacobs / WUNC
Tom Daniel

Daniel, 72, a lifelong Granville County resident, is the owner of Daniel’s Flea Market, on Hillsborough Street, in downtown Oxford.

He and his wife sell antiques and used goods that they get at auctions and estate sales. Their business is open six days a week but Daniel said he likes to "keep Sunday holy." Daniel is a registered Democrat and said he'll likely vote that way this fall, though he's fatalistic about the outcome.

"I like Biden," he said, "but who wins, who wins, doesn’t matter."

Mark Grindstaff
Mark Grindstaff
Credit Rusty Jacobs / WUNC
Mark Grindstaff

Grindstaff, 54, is a registered Republican and a staunch supporter of President Trump.

"Now we need to vote for him again more than ever," Grindstaff said. Grindstaff said he thinks Trump will bring back lost values associated with a time he's only heard about from his parents, the 1950s.

"There was honor, integrity, respect," he said, also criticizing the president's opponents for looking backwards.

Faye Jones
Faye Jones
Credit Rusty Jacobs / WUNC
Faye Jones

Jones, 80, has lived in Granville County most of her life. Jones had been a poll worker but declined to volunteer this year because she recently had hip surgery and was concerned about being around crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She already mailed in her ballot this year and said she voted for Biden. But Jones described her choice as more of a vote against Trump, whom she described as "too harsh sometimes."

"And I don’t know why he feels like he has to be that way," she added. "But I think it's just him."

John Lancaster
John Lancaster
Credit Rusty Jacobs / WUNC
John Lancaster

Lancaster, 54, is a registered Republican. Lancaster said he’s living in a halfway house and, after struggling with alcoholism, has been sober for a year. He didn't vote in 2016 but said he will be voting this year and probably not for Trump.

"You know, he's just a little too arrogant for me," Lancaster said. "He's a little too over the top."

As for Biden, Lancaster said he thinks the Democrat cares more than Trump does about Social Security, older people and providing people with broad access to health insurance.

David Quinn
David Quinn
Credit Rusty Jacobs / WUNC
David Quinn

Quinn, 64, moved with his wife to Granville County from Raleigh a year and a half ago. "You don't have the traffic, you can buy way more house for way less money," he said, citing the advantages of a less populous area over sprawling Raleigh, which he likened to the Atlanta metro area.

Quinn, a computer systems analyst, is a registered unaffiliated voter but leans Republican. He voted for Trump in 2016 and will do so again this year.

"I'm not okay with open borders, I'm not okay with monetary redistribution," he said.

Linda Smart
Linda Smart
Credit Rusty Jacobs / WUNC
Linda Smart

Smart, 65, and her husband, Henry, recently moved to Granville County from Durham. Smart's a registered Republican and voted for Trump in 2016. She said she's voting for Trump again, though she checked out the Democratic presidential candidates during the primaries. But Smart said Biden wouldn't have been her choice and while he may be a good politician she doesn't entirely trust him.

As for Trump, Smart, whose husband retired from the Air Force, said believes the president is "great with the military" and "good with the law and order."

Joseph Tyler
Joseph Tyler
Credit Rusty Jacobs / WUNC
Joseph Tyler

Tyler, 38, is a registered Democrat and said he voted for Hillary Clinton four years ago. This year, Tyler said he is going to vote for Biden even though he's not a big fan of the former vice president. But Tyler said he's choosing the "lesser of two evils."

"There's no telling what can happen to this country in another four years of Mr. Trump," Tyler said.

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