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Record Turnout in N.H.

Record turnout is expected today in the granite state's first-in-the-nation primary. Hours before polling places opened, voters were already in line in some locations to cast their ballots.

WBUR's Bianca Vazquez-Toness visited one polling place at a high school in Bedford, New Hampshire, where even before the poll opened, a line was already all the way around the block.

Bob Oakes: Bianca, good morning. You talked to a lot of people waiting for the polls to open. What reasons did they give you for coming out this morning?

Bianca Vazquez-Toness: I heard a lot of people talk about the war, both people who consider themselves undeclared and Democrats or Republicans, and all of them were concerned about the war. Other people were concerned about health care and what they described as the looming energy crisis or environmental issues. One woman described that, because she's in her 60s, health care is particularly important to her.

New Hampshire Voter: We keep hearing we're the most powerful nation in the world, and yet some of our people can't even afford the medications to keep them alive.

Oakes: What did the voters you talked to say they were looking for in their candidate?

Toness: I heard a lot of people talk about charisma and the ability to convince Americans to do things they don't necessarily want to do. They see this as an urgent time, a time when there will be a lot of change, and they want a person who can sell his or her ideas. This is Arnold Garron, a vice president of John Hancock.

Arnold Garron: In order for our nation to get back on track, it's going to take U.S. citizens to participate. With the energy crisis, private citizens will have to make tough personal decisions.

Oakes: There's been a lot of talk about undecided voters in the primary. Has anyone you talked to this morning still not made up their mind even as they stood in line to vote?

Toness: I know, I think I was bothering them because I was cutting into their decision time talking to them. Yes I did, I met a few people who were waffling back and forth between a few candidates and would make their decision in the booth. This woman, Diane Normand, said this was particularly true for her.

Diane Normand: It was tough. You really have to weigh the pros and the cons and see how they handle themselves under stress with the debates. I know I'm voting Democratic and I have two people who are in the top running, so I will make up my mind right when I get in.

Toness: And a lot of people, even if they haven't decided in the booth, said it took them a lot of work to decide because it was a particularly urgent election for them.

This program aired on January 8, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.

Bianca Vázquez Toness Twitter Reporter
Bianca Vázquez Toness was formerly a report for WBUR.

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