By The Associated Press | November 6, 2012 | 3:32 PM EST

A surfing class passes a sign for a polling place as voters head to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in San Diego. After a grinding presidential campaign President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, yield center stage to American voters Tuesday for an Election Day choice that will frame the contours of government and the nation for years to come. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Two views from a San Diego polling place:

On one hand:

San Diego poet Veronica Cunningham, 60, proudly held sheets of "I voted' stickers to give out to the children at the schools where she works and said it felt good to vote as a gay Latina:

"A lot of people I know here think their vote doesn't matter because we're not in Ohio. But I think everybody should either put out or shut up. Anyone who cares about who you are, your ethnicity, your beliefs, should vote because these things matter in an election. I expect a few things from my country and I'm hopeful for Obama. After eight years with Bush, you can't expect one, lone African-American man to be responsible for this whole mess. I definitely think he should be given a second chance. People really have short memories."


On the other hand:

Elizabeth Marckwardt, a 57-year-old nurse who wore a sun hat to vote, was keeping her fingers crossed that Romney would defeat the president. She said the country is being smothered by big government that is squelching the private sector:

"I don't know what I'll do if Romney doesn't win. I'll go into a depression. I'll have to find a happy place for the next four years. Maybe I'll watch cartoons or something."

— Julie Watson — Twitter http://twitter.com/watson_julie


EDITOR'S NOTE — Election Watch shows you Election Day 2012 through the eyes of Associated Press journalists. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.