Kate Gutshall voted in her first midterm election Tuesday morning at Roland Rogers Elementary School in Galloway Township.

“It’s a pivotal time in our country,” she said. “It’s not just about the presidential election. We need to do things on the state level. If I don’t vote, someone else gets a bigger say than I do.”

Across South Jersey, voters endured soggy weather to cast their ballots. Lines of people formed outside polling places early Tuesday morning, according to poll workers. Voters said it was important to make their choices heard this election.

At Roland Rogers, handfuls of voters turned out before children were dropped off for school.

“I think it’s very important to choose the right candidate,” said Naseem Patel, 57, of Galloway. “You have to know why you’re voting and who you’re voting for.”

Shanell Gebon, 42, of Galloway, said her right to vote matters.

“I became a U.S. citizen in 2008,” she said. “I take it very seriously.”

Those voting at Zion Lutheran Church in Egg Harbor City were also invited to take part in an interfaith community prayer in the chapel.

Organizers Jill Madden and the Rev. Kathleen Harris said the idea was to offer a place for people to reflect, seek guidance and pray for the well being of others.

As the rain came and went, Brock and Sarah Burns, both 24, of Egg Harbor Township, voted in their first midterm Tuesday, and felt they were in good company.

“I’ve seen more about the election than any other year,” Brock Burns said outside Alder Avenue Middle School. “Especially for our generation. I’ve seen people vote who I never thought would.”

For some, their votes came down to what they wanted to see change, or not change, at the state and national levels.

Bruce Bradshaw, 73, a Vietnam veteran from Egg Harbor Township, wasn’t happy with the direction the country was going, and said “if you don’t vote, you can’t complain if things don’t go your way.”

Others like Michael Weaver, 51, of Egg Harbor Township, said it was important to cast his vote in favor of candidates who will support President Donald Trump and the current administration.

Donna Andersen, 62, of Atlantic City, also wanted to see things continue as they are.

“This election is particularly important,” she said outside the Richmond Avenue School in Atlantic City early Tuesday morning. “Things are going in a good direction, and I don’t want to see that change.”

No matter who or what they voted for, many South Jersey residents Tuesday echoed the same message: If you want to have a voice in what happens, you need to vote.

“Even if your candidate does or doesn’t win, at least you did something,” said Raven Frazier, 31. “It’s not that hard (to vote). There are going to be winners and losers — that’s just how it is.”

Contact: 609-272-7241 Mbilinski@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressMollyB

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

Previously interned and reported for Boston.com, The Asbury Park Press, The Boston Globe

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