Here it is Sunday morning and I just ask Alexa what the temperature was outside. It feels much warmer in our house than it has been in months.
Alexa just answered: Today expect a high of 65 degrees. Mackensie would say, "Mom, that's global warming." One thing I do know is that I need to learn a lot about global warming.
For right now, though, I'm going to enjoy the thought of being able to get outside today, maybe go for a run with Meredith or take another drive with John to my favorite coast in the world, Hampton Beach. It's the state I love, not too far from our home, and there is a chance of seeing the people I love and we can sleep in our own bed.
John and I have a routine. We drive to just about the start of the New Hampshire coast, cross over the bridge because on the Hampton bridge that connects our two shorelines, you can often see the most beautiful views of the sun, either rising or setting or resting in the sky. Most people do not know that the Hampton bridge, back in the early 1900s, was considered the longest bridge in America.
We continue the drive and I comment every time about how beautiful and fresh everything is now. The new colored flags, new restrooms open for us, and the casino area cement walkway even looks clean. I remember years ago when I was very little it was kind of a hot mess, but we loved it just the same.
What was also amazing was how many people were out on the beach — some wading in the water, but most walking in the sand, playing games and looking so happy to be outside in the fresh, warm air. Parking was at a minimum, too.
As John was driving us along with the roof down on our Buick and I looked out to the hundreds of people. I thought how many of those adults are registered voters? I'm guessing maybe a quarter of them.
My thought was how do we get those who are not registered to understand how important every vote is? Our next struggle is how do we also get everyone to understand the importance of not only voting in federal and state elections, but how vital every vote is in our town elections — the things that affect us every single day in our towns.
Maybe if we put out huge banners in strategic places on days like this, it might make a difference. Now, I'm picturing the old Uncle Sam posters of the past. Remember them — Uncle Sam larger than life, pointing his finger at us. It could say, "Your vote counts" at the top and "Register to vote" across the bottom. I wonder what Secretary of State Bill Gardner would think of this idea?
Well, this week in our town halls, it was great to see so many young college students come in to register before heading back to school.
I wanted to hug each and everyone to say thank you. We also had many people coming in to ask for absentee ballot applications and ballots.
When this happens, we also ask if they will need one for our upcoming town election on March 10. It's just so sad when they say no, not because they will not be home to vote in person, but because they seldom vote in those elections.
Every election is important and I believe it's one thing in this life that puts us all on the same playing field together. We each get one vote to cast to make a difference. I know I'm repeating myself, but many elections, especially at the state or local level, have been won or lost by just one vote.
How do we get the word out? Maybe if we all team up together and spread the word about these important upcoming dates:
Registering to vote can happen right at your own town or city hall. Bring a driver's license or non-driver ID to prove identity and age, a birth certificate or passport to prove citizenship and something to prove domicile/residency.
Many documents with your name on such as electric bill, car registration or lease can work. The great news is that if you don't have any of these you can sign an affidavit attesting to the fact that you do. It's easy and takes five minutes. John and I should also direct you to the Secretary of State's website for more information at sos.nh.gov/elections.aspx.
In Londonderry, school deliberative session is Friday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. Town deliberative session is Saturday, Feb. 8, 9 a.m. Both are held in the Londonderry High School cafeteria and are a chance for voters to come get educated on warrant articles that will be voted on.
Remember, when you vote in your town election you become part of the decisions on how millions of dollars will be spent where you live. You will also have a say on the people you will work with once they are elected to represent you. Your vote makes a difference.
Not all towns have sessions, but you can attend other meetings or contact your council members or selectmen to ask questions.
Feb. 11 is our first in the nation presidential primary election. March 10 is our local town elections, and on Sept. 11, our New Hampshire state primary and Nov. 3, our 59th presidential election.
If you have an Alexa device in our home or on your phone, you can now "Ask Alexa" questions about our upcoming elections. Another New Hampshire first in the nation!
I just asked her this and she didn't know — what town halls are open on Martin Luther King Jr. Day? Depending on where you live, double check for this coming Monday. Many town halls are open, but the state DMV will be closed. We will do our best to conduct business as usual, but if you have a tricky situation or strange motor vehicle registration you might be better off waiting until Tuesday. We promise to do our best, though!
Sherry Farrell is Londonderry Town Clerk and a lifelong resident of New Hampshire.