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Letter to the Editor - Oct. 11

October 11, 2012

Early voting experience left an indelible mark

To the editor:

One fine day in 1948, a young mother dressed herself smartly and pinned on a little hat. She clothed her 5-year-old son in a collared shirt and short pants with a matching cap.  She took the boy with a younger child and walked to the county courthouse where voting was under way.

When the little family arrived, a sizable, animated, crowd of voters was moving steadily through the manual electoral process. After a short queue, they entered the large room where curtained booths lined the far wall. A tall man in a fedora and white shirt, with a tobacco-stained sleeve, smiled in recognition and warmly greeted the mother. He leaned far over as he beckoned the lad, handing him a printed sheet and a thick, sharpened pencil. The boy searched his mother’s face. She nodded safe approval while comforting the female toddler who had huddled anxiously in the folds of her mother’s skirt. The boy placed his sample ballot on a wooden chair and marked a large X in a little box revealed by Mr. Tobacco Juice. He handed the page and pencil back. The man winked as he tucked that ballot neatly under the large, locked ballot box. The crowd of bystanders seemed highly pleased by this rudimentary civics lesson.

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An older woman smiled and patted the child’s cap.

By now you know the boy’s identity, so I’ll change to first person. That political initiation lit the fuse, and I have never since missed an opportunity to vote. It also left me a bit obsessive about the process.

Sometimes I study the qualities of the candidates as though my ballot would decide the outcome from a vast multitude. Well … it could happen (just like my winning the Powerball!)  My wife thinks I watch news and political commentary excessively.  No worse than football or sitcoms, I say. So, you see, I’m a political junkie that avoided temptation to run for office. Who better to remind you to vote on Nov. 6?

M. Douglas Becker, M.D.
Hagerstown

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