The pros and cons of political ads

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FORSYTH COUNTY -- Election Day marks new beginnings: new representatives, new ideas and new projects. But it also serves as an end: an end to tenures, hopes and noticeably, political ads.

Some hate them, some love them but no one can deny -- political ads serve a purpose.

"I thought it was a lot dirtier than it had been in years prior. I mean, it was like a bloodbath," said Sally Watson. "Let's get something done instead of slicing each other's throat."

Many have labeled them "attack ads," saying candidates spend millions of dollars to soil their opponent's reputation.

"I think of the money wasted. But, I guess that's how you win," said Russ Sims outside of a polling place in Winston-Salem.

Yet, some voters say this year's ads were more helpful than hurtful.

"There was a little bit of dirt throwing but not much," said Henry Jackson of Lewisville. "It was pretty nice this year."

Ads do pose an opportunity to put faces to names and get an idea of the ideals each candidate stands for.

"You need those ads to see [who is] doing what. You know, and that kind of sways you to who you're going to vote for," Henry Jackson said.

In a year where Forsyth County saw more than 32,000 people participate in early voting -- 19,000 people vote at the polls by 10 a.m. and 42,000 by 2 p.m. -- some are saying that the political ads have spurred voters to hit the polls.

"I think they probably did propel people to come out, because of the [negativity] part of it," said Melinda Riddle, who voted at the Shiloh Lutheran Church in Lewisville. "People wanted to see that changed."

"I think it's probably caused a larger turnout," added Carol Jackson, who also voted at Shiloh Lutheran. "It's the largest crowd I've seen here in several years."

Many say they don't want the ads to go anywhere; they just want them to be done differently.

"I want to see them mention one, two, three, four, five what they're going to do for us, and stick with it," said Sally Tucker of Lewisville.

However, veteran voters say the political ads are no substitute for research.

"The country can go two directions, and I think it's one of the most important votes in the 81 years I've had," said Norman Sturdy, of Lewisville. "I feel sorry for people that don't know who they're voting for, and then they get 'em and they're very disappointed. Well, they should have known what that person was like before they voted."