72-Year-Old Votes for First Time

By: Vanessa Nguyen
By: Vanessa Nguyen

Most of us take voting for granted. A Marianna senior citizen has decided he wants to exercise his right to vote for the first time in his life. 72-year-old Raymond Dickens cast his absentee ballot Monday with the help of the Marianna Health and Rehabilitation Center.

October 25, 2010 marked a special day for 72-year-old Raymond Dickens. It was the first time he's ever voted.

"Yeah, very first time," he said.

With the help of the supervisor of elections office, Dickens was finally able to cast his absentee ballot for the November election.

"How does it feel?


Although he appears calm, staff members at the Marianna Health and Rehabilitation Center say he couldn't hold back his excitement.

"He knew they were coming last week to do the early voting and he could not wait this morning," said MH&R Center Administrator Melinda Gay.

It was a momentous occasion for the center which helped Dickens reach his goal.

"Several of the staff members had tears in their eyes,” Gay said.

Gay says dickens first approached her about voting during the August primary. But it wasn't an easy task.

"He was not registered and so we found out that he had never been registered to vote even when he lived in Alabama," she said.

"And we had to go through the new registration from state-to-state and then we had to do an absentee ballot request," said Millie Bowling, Activities Director.

Dickens didn't have any proof of identification, including his social security number.

"I had it in my head," he said.

The rehabilitation center brought Dickens to the Social Security office so he could get his proper identification. And after a couple weeks of waiting, he was on his way to vote.

"It was worth it! We got to see him vote!"

"Did you vote? Did you vote?"

Dickens is now using his newfound patriotism to encourage other employees and residents to do the same.

"Get out and vote!"

The deadline to mail your absentee ballot is Wednesday, October 27th. Early voting will end this Saturday.

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