World concerns amid a local setting

Times Staff Writer

While other precincts in metropolitan Atlanta experienced long delays and complications Tuesday, the scene inside Crossview Baptist Church was a serene and simple one.

Voters experienced few delays in the carpeted chapel, and there was little drama. Everyone complied with the state's recent, and controversial, law that required them to show a valid identification card.

But out in the parking lot, the voters -- many of them Republicans in this reliably conservative suburb -- confessed that they had the dynamic, chaotic, complicated world on their minds. And their choices seemed anything but simple.

Jason Clabaugh had arrived in a big red pickup that announced he was an uprooted Louisiana hurricane victim. His custom Georgia tag read "BYE NOLA," and a magnet identified him as a Katrina survivor. However, his obsession wasn't levees or housing aid or FEMA. It was foreign affairs.

"Iran is probably the preeminent issue on my mind," said Clabaugh, 40, a former librarian who now markets a New Orleans-inspired line of salsas. He said he had voted for Mitt Romney over John McCain because the latter seemed too soft on illegal immigration, which Clabaugh saw as a national security issue.

Cindy Barfield, a single working mother, said she couldn't afford health insurance. She had heard about the Democrats and their ambitious healthcare plans. But she doubted if Hillary Rodham Clinton was a committed Christian, which was important to her. And the other Democrat -- "that other gentleman," she called him -- she didn't know much about.

So Barfield, 49, voted for McCain, who came from a military family like hers. "He seems like a good, honest, Christian man," she said.

Dee Savage, 56, voted during a break from her job in an ophthalmology clinic. She has a 25-year-old son in the Navy who was headed overseas.

She voted for McCain. She admired his bravery, she said, and she agreed with his contention that America might have to stay in Iraq for decades -- however unpleasant that might be for military families.

Jessica Lakos, 38, a self-described Libertarian, voted for Barack Obama -- but only to try to knock Clinton out of the picture. "I do not want any chance of Hillary being president," she said.

Lakos, a restaurant manager, said she would probably vote Republican in the general election, though she admitted she was moved listening to Obama's soaring rhetoric. Too bad, she said, that she disagreed with most of his policies.

richard.fausset@latimes.com

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