As Election Day approaches, Yahoo News has asked voters in swing states to share what it's like being in the thick of things as President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney smother them with attention. This week, we look at North Carolina and Virginia, two Southern states that are being contested this year. In their own words and photos, voters shared their impressions. Here are some excerpts. Live in a swing state and want to share your story? Here's how.
I thought it would be kind of cool to be in a swing state because of the national attention, but it turns out to be more hellish than expected.
It was great having the DNC here [but] now I just wish all things political would stop!
My wife and I are divided for president, so we'll have to vote just to cancel each other out. I find [the division] to be pretty typical around here. I know several couples that way. (I'm not allowed to have any political sign, just because my wife would also [want to] have one.)
Not only do we see [more than eight] commercials a day, but 95 percent are attack ads, and it's all negative. It makes you think that Obama will feast on the flesh of your children, and Romney is out to torture and kill fluffy bunny rabbits. I'm hoping that both are untrue, but with these political ads, it makes you think.
—Stuart Schafer, Charlotte, N.C., in an email to Yahoo News
Living in our area is, at times, very difficult for those who are liberal.
Although I know there are Obama supporters around, I have only seen two Obama-Biden campaign signs as opposed to many Romney-Ryan signs around town.
There's a lot of tension in our area over the election, and it seems very one-sided. On television, there are a lot of Romney commercials and a couple Obama commercials now. It seems like every commercial break [has] at least one political segment.
It's a very isolating feeling to think that you are alone in your stance. I skirt around conversations that have to do with politics at my workplace and with my patients for fear of being discriminated against.
[But] I'm starting to not be so concerned about what people think anymore. It's my right as an American to pick whoever I want to be president. That's what makes our country so amazing: freedom.
My husband, his parents, and siblings are all voting to re-elect President Obama. As far as our friends, it's about 80/20 [in Mitt Romney's favor]. Many of them we know will vote for Romney, but there are a few who are moderate in their views and are leaning toward President Obama. Today I went to one of the early voting centers and placed my vote for President Obama. I feel so proud to be an American, to have the right to choose who I think best represents me, my beliefs and my hopes for our nation.
—Hilary Andrews, Pinehurst, N.C., in an email to Yahoo News
As happened in the previous three elections, when I put a Republican presidential candidate sign on my property, it's vandalized.
I've learned that a way to reduce that vandalism is to line the edges of the sign with Vaseline, making its destruction a gooey, messy proposition. Sometimes vandals stop in mid-destruction, and I come home in the evening to a sign someone started to destroy but then stopped because their hands became a mess.
Since I clearly am making someone very upset, I of course decided that I need far more than one sign so I can get my point across even more clearly. I have asked for more signs, made more signs, and gotten more from neighbors. I am filling my yard. And lining them all with Vaseline.
— John Iekel, Falls Church, Va., in an email to Yahoo News
I go into a lot of houses in my job of dry cleaning carpets. … For the first time I can ever recall, I am seeing my customers are actually serious about [an] election.
No more do they try to out-promote the opposition candidate with a litany of talking points, as in past elections. [They use] a quiet voice and calm manner. They speak about the candidates in a conversational style, whereas in the past they would try to convince by boisterously emphasizing key points.
[While they] used to use a show of anger to convince, now it's a quiet plea. A tone of gravity has somehow fallen upon my clients. They never ask me who I will be voting for, they simply make the whispered, almost resigned statement that "people need to get out and vote."
— Charles Bright, Goldsboro, N.C., in an email to Yahoo News