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Opinion

Bill Kirby Jr.: Mama always voted, and so do I

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You’ll find the old house along N.C. 690 heading into the little town of Vass in Moore County.

Seems like it has been there forever and a day.

“That’s Bill Smith’s house,” Mama would always tell me. “Bill Smith said to me when I was younger, ‘Always vote, young lady. Always vote.’”

Mama voted in every election in her 67-plus voting years, even when osteoporosis set in during her later years. She was determined to vote. And for many elections, Mama did the curbside voting at her precinct at Max Abbot Middle School.

She was meticulous with her ballot.

She studied the candidates ahead of time and made sure she circled her choices just right and left nothing for question or error on her ballot. Those ink marks, you could be sure, always were perfect inside the circle.

Mama wore her “I Voted” sticker proudly.

I also have voted in every election since I was of age. Mama would have expected nothing less.

“Don’t forget to vote,” Mama always reminded me, no matter if it was a primary or general election. “Don’t forget to vote.”

So should all of us.

‘If you don’t vote …’

No need to remind Wesley Seamon, either.

“I vote every time,” Seamon, 74, was saying Tuesday after voting in the Fayetteville mayoral and City Council District 5 races at the Kiwanis Recreation Center.

He learned from his late father, Ralph Seamon.

“My Dad told me if you don’t vote,” he says, “you can’t complain.”

Karen Felton was there to join with her husband to cast her mayoral and District 9 votes.

“It’s important to have people who can lead a city or county in the right direction,” the 61-year-old speech therapist says, and frankly Felton says she is none too pleased with the direction of this city.

Tuesday’s turnout seemed suspect.

The Max Abbott Middle School precinct was bare at 3:30 p.m., where only 113 of some 600 registered voters had come. It was bare again at 5:15 p.m. The Kiwanis Recreation Center only had about 300 ballots cast around 5 p.m.

There are 126,747 city residents registered to vote in this municipality, according to Angie Amaro, interim director for the Cumberland County Board of Elections, and just 33,343, or 16.25%, voted in the May 17 primary.

Epilogue

This City Council election is an election delayed with the primary in the spring and now in the throes of summer. Neither rain nor sleet no snow nor the heat of summer would have kept Mama from voting.

Nor did it keep Wesley Seamon or Karen Felton and her husband away.

I voted, too.

Old Bill Smith from up Vass way long ago and Mama would have expected nothing less.

Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961.

Column, Bill Kirby Jr., Fayetteville, City Council, mayor, elections