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Lilburn Votes: First Voters at Berean Baptist Church

Before the polls even opened, people were lined up and ready to vote. Patch went to the front of the line to see who was first.

Dwight and Pat Minton didn't plan on being the first in line, but they were -- beating hundreds of others who will follow behind them at the Berean Baptist Church polling place in Lilburn.

The two got up at 5 a.m. to get in front of the crowds.

"We just didn't want to stand in line," said Pat Minton, 67.

"And, we just happened to be the first in line," said Dwight Minton, 68

The early voting lines told the couple they could not dilly-dally on Election Day. Some in Gwinnett County waited seven to eight hours in line for advanced in-person voting.

"Every time there's an election we vote here," Dwight Minton said, "and, we really never had to wait very long, but we decided since the early voting was so long that we might need to get here, so that's why we got here as early as we did."

-- For all Lilburn election coverage, check the 2012 Lilburn Area Election Guide --

Before poll workers at Berean Baptist Church opened the voting hall, there were already 150 people in line. Lucky for the early morning voters, the church and volunteers supplied coffee and snacks to keep spirits high.

Some were sleeping covered in blankets, some were drinking the free coffee and others were chatting with new friends. The Mintons were quietly waiting for the clock to strike 7 a.m.

After voting, the two explained why Election Day meant so much to them.

In Georgia, the charter school amendment was a big issue for the Mintons. However, the two said it was hard to tell what you were voting for because of the ballot question.

"I think that everybody ought to have a choice," Dwight Minton said.

"Yeah, I do, too," his wife, Pat, interjected.

"Of what they want they can do," Dwight continued. "The state, the way I look at it, doesn't want this choice, but I think you should be able to -- if you want to send your kids to a charter school or private school or public school. See, the thing I'm interested in is choices, because that's the American way."

The Mintons also believe that everyone should vote -- no matter who their presidential candidate is. For them, it's Romney, and that puts them in line with historical 2008 totals in Gwinnett County. Then about 63 percent of ballots went to then Sen. John McCain in their precinct.

"I don't care who you're voting for but you should just come and vote," Pat Minton said, "because that's the freedom that we have, and it could be taken away from us at any time. We don't know."

"There's so many people that don't have the opportunity to vote," added Dwight. "They don't have the choice. In a lot of this countries that you go to, they may go vote, but that doesn't mean that that vote's going to stand because they change it whenever.

"We are all -- it don't make any difference what color, what race, what you are -- you're an American, and if you live here you should support this country."

His wife, Pat added: "People should realize they should vote, I agree with that, but they also should realize that whoever gets in office, which ever one of these guys wins, it doesn't matter because God is in control of all of it. And, he puts whoever he wants in there for a reason, and we should support whoever wins the election. That's the way I feel about it."

Will the presidential election be close? The Mintons think so, but that makes folks get to the polls. And, they like seeing that. 

Still, they are pulling hard for Romney.

"I'm not Republican or Democrat; I vote for the best candidate in my mind," Pat said. "I feel like he is more of a family person orientated. I've heard people say, 'Oh, I'm not going to vote for him because he's Mormon.' Well, there's good people in all religions. 

"I just think we're due for a change, and I just think he'd be good."

But, Dwight Minton knows he can't put the blame of the current United States situation squarely on President Obama.

"You can't blame anybody for anything because we all caused this whole mess," he said. "And, it started yes, back in the other presidential (term), but it's a domino effect, and I don't know where anybody can stop it."

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