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People of faith expected to make impact at the polls

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RALEIGH—Everyone has different concerns they're passionate about this election season. In a weekly series called Voter Voices on News 14 Carolina, groups of voters discuss the issues that will impact their choice at the polls.

Faith, prayer, community; spirituality guides Rob Schofield, a Baptist worshipper, whose devotion to his religion leaves him feeling concerned about the state of the economy and the need for more jobs.

"The relationship between our faith and our commitment to social justice, I think they're very much one in the same. I'm acutely aware of how critical the job market debate is and how important it is that we continue to grow the economy," said Schofield.

Carolyn Billings, a Protestant worshiper, feels her close connection to her faith leaves her worried about those less fortunate.

"Those we are not hearing mentioned and that is the poor class, the lower class, the people who are really struggling to eat and to find work. Medicaid and Medicare are even more important for people who are less capable of managing their finances," said Billings.

Regardless of their religion, North Carolina State University Political Science Professor Andrew Taylor expects people of faith turn will have a big turnout at the polls on election day.

"We are a very religious nation. Belief in God, frequency of church attendance; all of these indicators show Americans are much more religious than people in other similar rich advance, industrialized democracies in the western world," said Taylor.

A U.S. Religious Landscape Survey by the Pew Forum indicates nearly 70 percent of people in North Carolina said religion is important in their lives, while 20 percent said it is somewhat important, and 10 percent said it is not important.

A recent study from the Pew Forum shows four in five adults are affiliated with a religion. Rabbi Ari Margolis tells his congregation at Temple Beth Or their choices can make a big impact.

"In our Jewish tradition we believe in the concept of 'tikkun olam', repairing the world. In our society here in America, we have a system for doing that, which is using our voices through our votes," said Margolis.

According to a July Pew Research Center poll, two-thirds of adults feel it is important for the president to have strong religious beliefs.

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