FRANKFORT -- Laura Staubes is a registered Republican, but she crossed the aisle this year to support Democrat Sen. Barack Obama for president.
"He's the kind of change we need," said Staubes, who works in Benzie County as a homecare nurse for Munson Home Health. "He's open-minded and grounded enough."
But Staubes, 40, of Traverse City, said candidates' political parties are as unimportant as their gender or race.
Tuesday is bound to be a historic day.
Voters could choose Obama as the first black president. On the other hand, Republican Sen. John McCain could become the oldest president elected to a first term and his running mate Sarah Palin the first female vice president.
Lance Roman hopes it'll be the latter. Roman, 56, lives and works in Empire. He's a contract electrical and computer engineer and heads the Leelanau County Republican Party.
He supports McCain, and said he believes in less government and less taxation.
In 2000, 80 percent of Roman's business was in Michigan, but now 80 percent of it comes from out of state because business is overtaxed here, he said.
Roman views terrorism as a top issue this election.
"I think McCain is going to be more heavy-handed and more serious about it, and he's going to send a message out to the terrorists that he will be dealing with it," he said.
Ruth Lance also said McCain will better handle terrorists. Lance, 52, lives in Mancelona on the south side of Antrim County. She worked as a hairdresser, but is now on disability.
Lance said she doesn't like Obama's religion, "especially this all-black church thing ... I think he's a black extremist."
"He just wants to sit down and have tea and crumpets with these terrorists and he doesn't understand that without what's going on, with what Bush enacted, where we'd be," she said. "I think (McCain) will keep us safe, and I think that's a major thing right now, especially with all the terrorists and all the threats against the United States."
Improving the economy ranks as the highest priority for many voters, particularly Keith Alick, of Kalkaska.
Alick, 20, is preparing to move to North Carolina with his family because his parents lost their house to foreclosure.
He's taking into consideration the past eight years under Bush, and decided to cast his first presidential vote for Obama and his running mate Joe Biden.
"Look at the property market; everything is going downhill in Michigan right now," he said. "There's no jobs."
Berend Roeters has experienced the tough job market, too. The 39 year old from Empire has been unemployed for four months since his employer couldn't afford to keep him.
He's struggling to afford food and gas with his unemployment checks. He wants the government to do more for those with less money, instead of helping big corporations.
Roeters wants Obama for president.
"If it wasn't for the fact that he's black, there wouldn't be any question as to who the better candidate is," he said, adding that people target Obama with the term "socialist" to frighten potential voters. "They're just trying to trigger deep-seated fears in people so they vote with fear, instead of with their heads."
Brian Reid also is pulling for Obama. Reid, 49, lives in Beulah and owns three businesses in Empire.
"The war is why I started thinking about Obama, then the economy came and that didn't change my mind at all," he said.
Some people hail McCain's vice presidential pick Palin as a regular gal, but that's not what Reid wants in a leader.
"We need somebody that's a little on the extraordinary side, and I see that in Obama," Reid said.
Adrian Norris wasn't old enough to vote in 2004, and he's excited to cast his initial vote for McCain.
"I disagree with spreading the wealth, which I feel Obama is big on that, whereas McCain, he's going to give tax breaks for everybody," said Norris, 20, who works in financial services in Traverse City.
But Sylvester Lee contends McCain has been in politics too long and it's time for change.
Lee, 61, is the owner of Elberta Beach Market and Campground in Benzie County.
Like Obama, Lee is black, but he said that's not the only reason he submitted an absentee vote for Obama.
"I hope he can bring change not only for one sector, but for everybody," he said. "I'd like to see jobs. I'd like to see the corruption get out of politics."
Taxes are the main concern for Susan Ewing, 56, who owns Whispering Needles, a custom quilting and sewing company in Kingsley.
She's afraid her taxes will increase under Obama. She doesn't like his stances on foreign policy, either.
"I don't know that he has the experience that we need," she said, adding that she'll support McCain because he's the "only other choice."
Nancy Monsees said she's siding with McCain and Palin because of their morals.
Monsees, 67, is retired and lives in Kalkaska. She's pro-life and against same-sex marriage, as are the Republican candidates.
"Our nation is not ... basing their principles on what this nation was built on," she said. "This nation was built on God's principles and the scripture, and they're getting away from that."