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Kansas City Voters Head To The Polls For Presidential Primary Election

Laura Ziegler
KCUR 89.3
It's too early for official numbers but voting looked steady at a number of polls this morning.

From the Country Club District to Midtown, Independence to the West Side, to east of Prospect and north of the river, Kansas Citians on the Missouri side were voting at the crack of dawn today.

Polls opened at 6 a.m. Shelly Freeman entered her polling place at Country Club Christian Church in the dark, thanks to daylight savings time.

Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Shelly Freeman takes voting very seriously and is thrilled there's a woman candidate for president.

"Every election is important," she says. "As a woman we had to fight to get the vote."

She sees this year as exceptional — not necessarily because of the unusual level of hostile rhetoric between the candidates.

"I'll definitely be voting for Hillary. I'm just very excited about the prospect of having a woman president," she says.

At St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Midtown, Ray Birt and Garth Tardy were among the first to vote around 7 a.m.

"We want to keep the gains of gay rights in place and don't think the Republicans will do that at all," Tardy says. "I also like Bernie Sanders because I want to affect the way the economy is run."

Tardy's husband, Birt, says he once voted for Reagan but said today "none of the (Republican) candidates look good."

Norberto Hurtado
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Norberto Hurtado says the rhetoric on the Republican side diverts attention from important issues.

On the West Side at Posada Del Sol Senior Center a slow but steady number of voters ambled along Summit Street during the first couple of hours of voting.

Entering to cast his vote, NorbertoHurtado, who grew up in the largely Latino Westside of Kansas City, is disgusted by the campaign of Donald Trump.

"We have enough other problems we need to take care of rather than going to this bigotry. We don't need that," he says.

But at the Harmony Vineyard Church  in Clay County, I ran into a slew of Trump supporters. The line was out the door around the lunch hour — the heaviest turnout I'd seen so far.

Gordon and Peggy Hayes proudly say they voted for Trump.

"He says what it is," Gordon Hayes explains. "He doesn't indulge in trying to please everybody."

"Donald has stirred the troops up, " chimes in Peggy Hayes. "We're not gonna have the same old thing!" she says, drawing out the word "same."

At the Palestine Missionary Baptist Church at 35th and Monroe, Hillary Clinton seemed the preferred candidate. Roosevelt White says while some of the young people had expressed an interest in Bernie Sanders, he believes most everyone else in the African American community is supporting Clinton.

Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR
Queen Esther and Harold Watson say they're voting to secure a healthy future for their children and grandchildren.

"She's gonna take care of not just the privileged folks, but remember us in the middle and lower incomes," he says.

Queen Esther and Harold Watson, 88 and 82 respectively, say they're supporting Clinton, too.

"We've got to take care of God's children," Queen Esther says. Her husband agreed.

"I'm on my way out," he says, but he says he's voting to secure the future for his children and grandchildren.

Polls are open until 7 p.m. Find your polling location here.

Laura Ziegler is a community engagement reporter at KCUR 89.3. You can find her on Twitter, @laurazig or email her at lauraz@kcur.org.

I partner with communities to uncover the ignored or misrepresented stories by listening and letting communities help identify and shape a narrative. My work brings new voices, sounds, and an authentic sense of place to our coverage of the Kansas City region. My goal is to tell stories on the radio, online, on social media and through face to face conversations that enhance civic dialogue and provide solutions.
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