For what it’s worth, it appears that many of us here in the Gate City are a “lazy lot.”
Looking at last week’s special election held to fill the vacant alderman-at-large seat of the late Board President Brian McCarthy, the dismal turnout paints the picture.
It was a colder than usual early-March day, but the sun was out and strong and the conditions tolerable for a quick run to your polling station to cast a vote for either veteran public servant Ben Clemons or Fred Teeboom.
That’s it, folks: One race on the ballot and nanoseconds to fill in the tiny oval with a black magic marker made available at each curtained cubicle. I was voter #204 in Ward 7. I saw three other voters when I was there and a couple heading inside as I left. Ward 7 recorded a total of 412 votes.
The entire nine wards saw similar turn-out numbers (unofficial tally, 4,435). Out of thousands of registered voters in Nashua, that marks low participation, but local special elections don’t usually draw too much political excitement, right?
Nashua City Clerk Patricia Piecuch gave me this interesting tidbit:
“Prior to the Special Municipal Election held yesterday (March 5), Nashua had 57,828 voters. We registered 40 new voters that day, so the new total of registered voters is 57,868.”
Congratulations to Mr. Clemons, who sailed to victory with 3,017 votes to Teeboom’s 1,428.
I must admit, I have not always voted in every city election, so I have fallen under the category of “lazy lot” at times myself. It’s certainly not right, but I, too, have taken the freedom to vote for granted.
For instance, I was scheduled for surgery in late October 2018, but because I was busy doing this and that and tying up loose ends, I blew off voting in last September’s state primary. Truth be told, I could have gone to cast a ballot.
The same holds true for the November 2018 midterm election. I could have opted for an absentee ballot while in recovery, but I chose not to. My bad.
It really matters who you elect to office. Your vote does count. Most public servants across the Granite State aren’t doing it for the big bucks, either. They are dedicated and truly care about their community.
As Union Leader Publisher Joe McQuaid wrote in a former editorial about the passing of Brian McCarthy and his 25-year standout time on the board, public servants here unselfishly give of their time.
“Tuesday’s elections show, however, that a lot of our fellow citizens do stand for office to do their part in shaping the future of our state and its towns and cities,” McQuaid aptly wrote.
Meanwhile, the city clerk’s office has provided a fascinating glimpse into the oldest Nashua voter checklists from 1885 to 1893. I checked out the original historic manuscripts online with the all-male signatures done in cursive handwriting.
Interestingly, the city clerk’s office states that these voter checklists “pre-date the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution (1920) which gave women the right to vote, nationally, and the 1915 City Charter provision which gave women the right to vote in elections for the Board of Education.”
We’ve come a long way. So being lazy on Election Day doesn’t “count” in more ways than one.