Some choose not to cast ballot while others have no choice


NASHUA - Yesterday was just another day for city resident Pearl Farnum. Farnum, a longtime employee at the Speed Clean Laundromat in Railroad Square, gingerly swept the sidewalk in front of the store while explaining why she won't be one of the 750,000 New Hampshire residents who were expected to vote in yesterday's election. "When I was younger, I told my mother that I'd never vote, and I'm sticking to it," she said with a smirk. "It's my right not to vote."Farnum wasn't the only conscious objector in Nashua on Tuesday, as residents throughout the city found a variety of reasons to vote against voting. Nashua resident Candy Russell admitted that she was not up to date on the candidates' policies. "I don't know the candidates, and I don't know the issues," Russell said. "Next time, I'll vote." Gary LeGacey doesn't think there will be a next time for him. LeGacey is a Vietnam vet who elected not to vote. "At my age, everything is just getting worse," LeGacey said while leaning against the door of Slade's Food and Spirits on West Hollis Street. "This country is in trouble." LeGacey added that he doesn't have confidence in either candidate. "I don't think that there was anyone worth voting for," he said with frustration. "It's going to take more than the two gentlemen who are running to fix this." For Zia Hussain, of Bedford, voting is a benefit to living in America rather than a hassle. Hussain, Franum's employer and owner of both Zee Quick Stop and Speed Clean, is an American citizen but was not born in America. He was not aware that American citizens born outside of the country must present a passport to election officials. Hussain was allowed to vote after filling out supplementary paperwork, a task he was more than willing to take on. "I think, as a citizen living in this country, it's a right and a privilege," Hussain said while gently patting his youngest son on the head. "If we don't speak up, who's going to do it?" Bob White decided to take politics into his own hands. "I wrote myself in," White joked with a hearty chuckle. "No, I really voted for Obama; there's no other choice." White has been homeless for the past two months and said that, while life has been tough recently, voting is one of the only ways he can try to make it better. "This is an important vote because we can't go with the same stuff we've had for eight years," White said while pulling his faded green sweatshirt over his face to block out a brief gust of wind. "We're engaged overseas, and it's overtaking the economy. We need to bring jobs back to the United States so maybe we can get our lives back on track." Nashua resident and Southern New Hampshire University graduate student Ashley Spencer said guilt motivated her to participate in her first election. "I think that there is definitely a guilt-trip factor," said Spencer, 23. "If something is wrong with the country and you don't vote, then you're part of the problem." Voting wasn't an option for Ray Perry. Perry is a convicted felon and, consequently, has forfeited his right to vote, a right that he wished that he had back. "Oh man, I wish I could vote," Perry said while sitting on a bench outside of city hall. "I would've voted for Obama for sure." Perry has been homeless for a total of 15 years, and he said he believes Obama is the best choice for those in situations similar to his. "There are a lot of people in this city alone who are homeless," he said, readjusting his Super Bowl XXXIX cap and zipping his denim jacket to prepare for the night. "We need more shelters. They're knocking down buildings that could be shelters." Although Perry cannot vote, he hopes that whoever is elected won't forget about those citizens who don't have a permanent address. "Americans shouldn't be homeless," Perry said, as his eyes glazed over with the beginnings of tears. "We're spending all this money overseas, but what about us? That isn't right."
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