Voters’ Voices: Londonderry and Derry
By Kathleen Ronayne
LONDONDERRY, N.H. (Jan. 12, 2012) — Voters in Derry and Londonderry took to the polls Tuesday morning to exercise their civic duty.
At Londonderry High School, Laura Elazem, 42, a stay-at-home mom, brought her five children to the polls to teach them about democracy. In New Hampshire, she said, “We’re really lucky to have so much personal attention. It’s hard to understand that everybody doesn’t get the same attention, but I want to show them a little bit of it.”
Elazem’s children are 5, 7, 9, 10 and 11 years old. She’s taking her oldest daughter, Mercedes, to Manchester, N.H., in the afternoon to catch the excitement on Elm Street, one of New Hampshire’s busiest strips and site of several campaign headquarters for candidates. Elazem, a Republican, voted for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Eleven-year-old Mercedes has her own opinions about the candidates. She’s mildly more approving of Romney. “I think that none of them are doing that great,” she said. “Romney is doing pretty good, but they need to step up their game.”
At Gilbert H. Hood Middle School in Derry, N.H., voter turnout lagged slightly, said Margaret Ives, Derry town manager. Ives has lived in New Hampshire for 40 years and has worked at the polls for 10. As town manager, she’ll travel to all three polling places in Derry during the day.
As of about 9 a.m., approximately 330 voters came through Gilbert Middle School. It seemed a bit slow compared to previous years, Ives said. But she was optimistic it would increase. “I know it’s still early. There was a full moon, so that should bring voters, right?” she joked.
Ives works at the polls because she enjoys being a part of the democratic process. “I do it because it’s a privilege,” she said. “It’s a duty in this country for people to vote, and we have good, well-run elections here.”
Also at Gilbert H. Hood Middle School, voter Al Dimmock got started later than usual this primary day. He is a 74-year-old retiree from Derry. Normally he arrives before the polls open because he likes to be the first voter, he said. He had to run some errands Tuesday morning but had finished voting by 9 a.m.
“I went in this morning and I was asked by three people that work in there, ‘How come you weren’t the first, Al?’” he said.
Dimmock, a Democrat, voted for Barack Obama. He doesn’t like or trust any of the Republican nominees, he said. He votes in every local, state and national election. He can’t complain about or critique the government if he doesn’t participate, he said.
Said Dimmock: “I never miss a vote. I may not always be right, but I’m always here.”
(Kathleen Ronayne, a senior with dual majors in newspaper journalism and political science at Syracuse University, is reporting from New Hampshire for The Buffalo News.)