After voting yesterday afternoon at his polling place in Tarzana, Joe Steinschriber, 80, sat alone in the lobby of ONEgeneration Senior Center in Reseda.
Originally from Poland, the recent loss of his wife could not keep Steinschriber out of the voting booth.
“I vote for the man,” he said in his soft tone. “I weigh one against the other, and then I pick.”
Steinschriber said he has been voting this way since he first arrived to the United States after being released from a German concentration camp – where he spent two years – toward the end of World War II.
But in this case, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was “the man.”
“I’m not too crazy about Arnold, but there was no other choice,” he said in regard to the governor’s challenger – Democrat Phil Angelides.
Just outside the center’s door, 95-year-old Ida Stanish talked about the day’s election. Originally from Ohio, Stanish said William Howard Taft was the president when she was born, and that she remembered the whole town taking turns voting in the middle of the street, off a ballot box propped up on a cart.
“My father was a Socialist, so now I’m a registered Republican,” Stanish said with a smile as she clearly recalled 70 years of voting in past elections. But this year Stanish voted through an absentee ballot.
Stanish said she had historically been critical of the Democratic National Party.
“The Democrats have not had anybody decent since Truman ran,” she said in citing her disapproval of the party. Stanish laughed when she spoke about today’s Democrats. She said political figures like Al Gore and John Kerry are perfect examples of “jackass politicians.”
Yet when it came to voting for governor, Stanish said she reluctantly stuck to her Republican roots and voted for the incumbent.
“You have to pick the best of the two. It’s like trying to pick banana cream pie over apple cream pie,” she said, citing interviews she had seen with treasurer Phil Angelides as “unattractive.”
Up the road at CSUN’s Satellite Student Union, a flurry of students could be found voting in the late afternoon. Volunteers said the turnout had been good and that students had not stopped coming in since morning.
Sophomore art student Curtis Parker talked about why voting is important to him just after casting his ballot.
“We’re the ones making the choices,” the 19-year-old said. “If you don’t do anything about things, everything stays the same.”
As for the governor’s race, Parker said he would not comment on any specifics. “I’m not going to tell you who, I’m just going to tell you I didn’t vote for those two,” he said in reference to the unlikely unseating of the governor.
However, Parker did admit he was proud to vote yes on Proposition 87. “I’ve yet to meet a person who does not want clean air or natural gas,” he said.
Pasadena City College student Ricky Haagenson also voted, but not at CSUN. The 18-year-old said he had just cast his first ballot ever in his hometown of Altadena.
“I’m just here to visit my girlfriend,” said Haagenson in the G4 parking structure on the northeast corner of campus. As a registered Libertarian, Haagenson said while his votes fell primarily within his party’s affiliation, he still had to vote for Schwarzenegger.
And if projections ring true, Haagenson will have his wish.