For the latest story in our "Voice of the Voter" series, KDKA's John Shumway heads to Butler County to talk to voters about what issues they think matter most.
BUTLER, Pa. (KDKA) - The flag starched stiff by the Butler County breeze flies over Ed Thiele's 152-year-old family dairy farm in Cabot.
"I'm afraid our democracy is a little bit under siege right now," Ed says as he works on the fuel line of his tractor. "I have always been conservative but this year I feel this is one of the most important elections in my lifetime."
At the Ashleigh James Salon in Slippery Rock Ally Kryl says, "This is my third presidential election. And I think it's definitely one of the most detrimental, especially for my generation. It's definitely been hard to kind of have a decent conversation with someone because it's either you're right or you're wrong and here's I'm gonna tell you why."
Just south of the Rock - Jim Yeamens worries about the discourse, "It's sad to see our country. In such turmoil, you know, and hostilities, just over a vote."
A sentiment shared in the heart of historic Butler by Michael Brown.
"Out of control man, I don't understand I don't get it," Brown pondered. "You know, I really don't."
At Cranberry's Freedom Diner Tracy Notarianni feels the uneasiness.
"There have always been problems but this radical division has, has been created and that's tearing up families," she aid.
Butler County cast two-thirds of its votes for Donald Trump in 2016.
His signs, banners, and flags are abundant across the county this time around.
Biden signs are sparse, but Yeamens has one in front of his home and when he's in his yard he hears about it.
"You know some of the anger, just because I put a sign in my yard has been amazing and disappointing," he said. "Everybody has a right to vote and support their candidate, and why can't we respect that."
"I'll feel pretty good. Trump's got this in the bag," says Dave Lenz as he stands under a large Trump flag flying from his garage in Cranberry.
There are a half dozen other signs set up in his yard to make his choice clear to passing cars.
"My belief is November 4 we're gonna see some changes and I think it's all going to be for the greater good," he said.
At the Freedom Diner Donna Straharsky has already voted for the President.
"I still feel he's the only one who fights for this nation. That's why I vote for him."
Across the table her husband Joe is leaning towards a vote for Mr. Trump but says, "Leadership wise, you know I think they'd be both good leaders."
Michael Brown will be putting his vote in the column for Vice President Biden.
"I think he would make a good president man, I like his conversation. Can't be any worse than Trump has been."
"Doesn't seem like we have very many good options to choose from," says Nate Farster, "It's one of those deals where you're maybe trying to decide lesser of two evils type deal."
All across Butler County if you can get the political discussion away from the personalities and the "conduct" on the campaign trail, the reasons for choosing a candidate boil down to things that are personal.
Zeke Hartley said as he left the diner he'll be voting for the President, "I made more money than I have in the past so he's definitely done everything to help take care of me."
Yeamen's support for Biden is also in part economic.
"You know the regular people haven't really gotten their share of any, economic growth. You know, hopefully, that's gonna change."
Notarianni will be voting for the President but as she puts it, "I'm not voting for a person. I'm voting for ideas voting for the rights that I have in this country to practice religion, to bear arms, for the Constitution. I'm voting for an idea that our country was built on, not for a person or a personality."
At the hair salon, Kryl says simply, "I voted democratic last year, and I will be doing it again."
Back on his farm in Cabot Thiele tips back his hat and says, "Trump would not be my favorite guy personally, but I'm voting for the aspect of conservatism against liberalism. I've seen the farm economy be able to do things because of Trump that we could not do before. I just like the direction he's going."
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