Nov 6, 2012 7:30 PM by Lauren Molenburg
Lakewood, Colorado (AP) On Election Day, Americans took time to vote, and to explain why this ritual means so much to them.
In swing state Colorado, elections typically are decided in three suburban counties where women play a key role. That fact didn't escape the Romney and Obama campaigns, which spent plenty of time and money reaching out to that important voting bloc in Arapahoe, Larimer and Jefferson counties - and, indeed, all across the land.
In Lakewood, west of Denver in Jefferson County, finding the time to even vote was one of many challenges for single mother Amber Tuffield. Her day started in typical fashion: Three trips up the stairs to rouse her 13-year-old son, Dallas, out of bed. A trip down to the basement to find clean clothes for her 16-year-old daughter, Sage. Put a pot roast in the Crock-Pot for dinner.
Tuffield works two jobs - one as a secretary, the other bartending - and worries most about having decent health care and ensuring her children get a solid education. But two things in particular stuck with her this Election Day: Mitt Romney's secretly recorded assertion that 47 percent of Americans see themselves as "victims," and his suggestion that students should borrow money from their parents if they can't afford college.
It all left her questioning whether the Republican could really relate to people like her, and prompted this registered independent to vote for Barack Obama instead.
"Looking at both of them, I'm more comfortable with the known than the unknown," said Tuffield, 44.
In Arapahoe County, Republican precinct leader Lori Horn spent her day coordinating poll observers. Like Tuffield, she worries about her children's future, but believes Romney and his economic plan are the best bet for her family.
"I have a daughter on the precipice of college and a career," said the 50-year-old mother of two. "I have to make this a priority."