September 15, 2015 was a primary day for Manchester, NH, the Mayoral election being contested by the opposition party. Our Ward votes at the Bishop Leo E. O’Neil Youth Center at 30 South Elm Street.
Almost one year after the most recent leg surgery Lynn is waling pretty good. Not far. Stairs are a problem.
The polling place at the Youth Center is down a flight of stairs. This was a known fact. There’s an elevator at the stair landing. Also known in advance. The elevator is posted out of service. This was not known in advance.
So I get to go in and ask for accommodation for Lynn, who wants to vote in the primary. By the way, New Hampshire is a picture I.D. to vote state.
So I walk in and mention that the elevator is marked out of order. What do I hear “That’s not our fault.” Just what you want to hear from the workers at the polling place. This is followed by “There’s a ramp on the other side of the building.” This offends me on so many levels starting with having a separate entrance for the handicapped hidden in the back of the building. Anyway, I answer “Lynn can’t walk that far.”
So next I hear “He should have asked for an absentee ballot.” When did the elevator go down? “Yesterday.”
Next I’m told “you’ll have to tell him . . .” and I stopped that conversation right there with “You! tell him.”
The resolution of the situation was this. The poll worker and I walked the ballot and marker up to Lynn, who is sitting on a chair in the entrance to the building in front of the elevator door, Lynn marks his ballot and the poll worker and I walk the ballot back to the ballot box where the polling place worker watches while I insert the completed ballot into the ballot box. Lynn doesn’t trust the poll worker to handle Lynn’s ballot.
Ultimately this is how it is done. Mis-information, inconvenience, obstacles and ballot tampering.
Voting in a democratic republic is not only a constitutional right, voting is a necessity. Influencing the vote is tampering with the very base, the very foundation of our government.
. . . and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Or the full text:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
November 19, 1863