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Make Your Mark: VOTEBy Susan Bush
12:00AM / Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Are you voting this year?
|North Adams residents Francis and Marlene Bush voted during the Nov. 7 election.|
The right to cast ballots in city, state, and national elections came at different times for people of differing gender and culture, but on Nov. 7, 2006, most United States citizens have a constitutional right to vote.
Polls in North Adams, Williamstown, and Pownal, Vt. appeared active during the morning. People lined up and checked in with poll workers, and voting booths at the places visited were mostly occupied.
North Adams teacher Laurie Dickson talked about why this mid-term election was particularly important to her.
"We need change," she said. "And voting is so important, it's our right and it is very much our responsibility. People complain a lot and usually it's the people who don't vote who are complaining."
As a foreign language teacher, Dickson said she is acutely aware of the nations whose citizens are deprived of voting rights and are prohibited from voting on the issues that affect their lives. There are countries that allow men to cast ballots but prevent women from doing so, she noted.
Gene LePesqueur and Janet Holland supported Republican state senate candidate Matthew Kinnamen.
Television political commentators have predicted low voter turnouts -one pundit predicted a 35 percent voter turnout nation-wide - but Marlene Bush of North Adams said she believed that a higher percentage of state voters would make the trek to the polls.
"I think people will come out in Massachusetts, it's a big election here," she said, and noted the gubernatorial race between Republican Kerry Healey, the current lieutenant governor, and democratic candidate Deval Patrick.
Of great interest to voters in Berkshire and Franklin counties is the state Senate race between Democrat Benjamin Downing, Republican Matthew Kinnamen, and Green/Rainbow party candidate Dion C. Robbins-Zust, she said.
"The vote is our voice," she said. "No matter how little our voice may seem, we do have a voice."
Francis Bush agreed that registered voters should vote. Mid-term elections are as significant as Presidential elections, he said.
"People should be voting," he said. "It's important to get the mess in Boston straightened out."
City resident William "Bill" Zenopoulos was among those voting at the Silvio O. Conte Middle School polling place. His vision of government is a bit cynical, he said, but emphasized that voting is important as a tangible action and exercise of right.
"I am voting straight Democrat," he said, and added that when registered to vote at age 21 [for many decades, citizens had to be 21 years old to register to vote],his father told him that neither the Republicans or the Democrats were to be trusted. He chooses to vote for Democratic candidates because their actions, questionable or not, deliver more benefits to the needy, he said.
Vermont state Rep. William "Bill" Botozw D-Pownal-Woodford termed voting "one of the best ways we make change."
Williamstown Selectman John "Jack" Madden and his wife Judith Madden were among the voters casting morning ballots at the Williamstown Elementary School polling place.
"If you don't vote, you have no right to criticize the policies, the actions, or the direction the country or the state takes," John Madden said.
Judith Madden said that she hopes people come out to vote because it is a precious right and because military troops are fighting and dying in Iraq for voting and other rights.
"It's especially important to vote when we have troops dying in Iraq," she said.
In Pownal, state Rep. William "Bill" Botzow D-Pownal-Woodford stood and greeted voters who came to the town's Route 7 Pownal Valley firehouse polling place even though he is unopposed during the mid-term election.
John Notsley and Regina Rouse showed their support for Democratic state senate candidate Benjamin Downing, U.S. Congressman John W. Olver, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick.
"Voting is important and I hope people realize that," he said. "It is one of the ways we make change. It is one of the best ways that we make change."
Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or at 802-823-9367.