As I write this column Saturday at 6:29 a.m., I wonder if you are up, too?
My mind is always racing with so many ideas, things I want to get accomplished and things we still need to do before our great American general election, now just days away.
Remember, I mentioned last week that our elections are both exciting and worrisome. Rob Palmer, one of our assistant moderators, compared the election-day count down to the feeling of getting ready for Christmas! For the next general election, we could make little information videos for the public based on this theme! Now that would be helpful and fun.
This week our governor spoke at our amazing Rotary group. He shared so many things about our great state and in my book, he is an A-plus governor.
He explained to us that New Hampshire is sometimes considered a purple state. We can go back and forth between Democratic support and Republican support and wins. I’d never heard that before and I like it!
For us who are undeclared voters, that was great to hear. Gov. Sununu also took time out of his schedule to swear me in as our NHCTCA, New Hampshire City and Town Clerks president. I am honored to be elected by and represent over 235 local and city clerks across our state.
I plan to make sure our voices are heard at the state and local level because we represent you! I am grateful for each vote I received, because in every election every vote counts!
Now we must work together to make sure everyone can vote in our general election. Our great state has made it just about impossible for you not to vote if you really want to. Absentee ballot applications are available in so many different places, online, and if you can’t locate one, we are happy to send one out to you. No worries just contact your town or city clerk.
In New Hampshire please remember that we do not have early voting, I just don’t like those words at all. We all cast our vote on the same day, Election Day, then and only then.
If you vote absentee, yes you complete your ballot before Election Day, but it is not removed from the affidavit envelope that you have sealed your ballot in until Election Day. New Hampshire law states that we can not even start opening the absentee envelopes until one hour after our polls open. How great is that?
Most people don’t realize that if you did happen to change your mind about how you voted, you could let us know and we could pull your absentee ballot, cancel it and you could have a fresh start. (As long as your ballot has not been cast already on Election Day).
Many New Hampshire voters are known for making our final decision down to the last minute, that’s why we do not believe in early voting. At least I don’t. The reason I don’t like early voting is I believe that new information can come out on every candidate or issue right up until the day before the election, information that might change your mind or the way you vote.
Early voting in states like Massachusetts can make voting easier, but once you vote early you are one and done, with no chance to change your mind. Of course, COVID is the biggest reason we are getting so many requests for absentee ballots this year.
If you are completing an absentee ballot please be kind and patient with your town clerk’s office. Your clerks and assistant clerks are working just about around the clock to make sure our general election is fair, transparent and safe for all voters.
I think many people forget that we are not only trying to prepare for an unprecedented election that will make history, but we still have to process cars, collect other town payments, create vital records that you need like marriage licenses and birth certificates and the list goes on.
They could really use a little TLC and kind words to let them know you really appreciate their efforts and devotion to the election process in our great state. I often think that people forget that they, we, are essential workers, too. They have been on the front lines since the beginning of this pandemic.
Please help me to spread that word. Post something kind on your town Facebook page. You probably do not realize it but when a positive comment is made about our offices, we all share it, like little children really.
We all need reinforcement, a small pat on the back, a little "Hey, I appreciate that you are in the office giving your very best for our American election process." Sadly, we share the nasty ones, too, and they do hurt, but at least we have each other to share them with.
We are a “No Blame Zone" in my book. We are not looking to point fingers or find out who, after entering thousands of names and ballots sent and then ballots received, made that human natural error, we do our very best to fix the problem and move on together.
That’s what a team does. You know how much I love those words of encouragement like, “There is no 'i' in team,” and “Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much.”
Being a teacher and coach for years these quotes are locked in my heart forever. Words to live by if you ask me!
And: more purple to come next week.
Sherry Farrell is Londonderry Town Clerk and a longtime resident of New Hampshire.