Going To Vote

The town that I live in has a population of only 5,000 people. We don’t have a mayor. We have boards – selectmen, health, finance, council on aging, etc. – and all of the positions are filled by volunteers that we vote for. Talk about transparency and accountability in government! When we vote, it is done on a paper ballot. No hanging chads, no computer glitches. The ballot is cranked into a secure box. When the voting ends, the ballots are counted. By volunteers. With one of our policemen in attendance.


Today was election day. There were no state referendums and nothing on the national agenda, and in fact, there were no contested elections here for any of the boards. I’m grateful that during this rushed and over-extended age that anyone is willing to take the time to volunteer. What’s astounding is that such capable, educated, and committed people are willing to work so hard for all us. So, voting is important, if only to show that we citizens recognize the service that these people give.

I voted this morning. To do so, first I got my horse out of his paddock, groomed him, and tacked him up. Tonka and I headed into the woods.

on track


A mile later, after two muddy stream crossings, we emerged in the center of Carlisle,



at the town hall lot. The parking spots were all full,

parking spot


so I decided to bring Tonka to the front door.

front door


Steve is on the ballot – he’s running for his second term on the Library Board of Trustees – and he had just voted. So, I got off, handed the reins to him, and did my civic duty. Meanwhile, the volunteers who were manning the tables took a break to pet Tonka. Everyone was happy.

When I came out, I put my I Voted stickers on Tonka.

i voted



The Town Hall doesn’t have a mounting block, so I used a rock.

back on


Off we went back down the trail to the stable. It’s good to do one’s civic duty.

into the woods


  1. What a lovely patriotic story. “Tonka goes to vote.” Very nice. I could read you all day. Thank you Terry.

  2. Good job going to vote, Tonka! I’m sure everyone did enjoy visiting with you at the polls :)

    I wish more people would get out and vote. I get so disheartened by the pathetic turnouts. It seems like the presidential elections are the only ones with any turnout around here.

  3. We have the same setup here in Marion, though we have a paid Town Administrator who earns every penny of his salary. Town meeting is next Monday night and is always well attended, voting is Friday and we expect a good turnout. I’ll be driving my car, however. It’s a beautiful town in a lovely area, and I’m glad to be home again after fifty years away.

  4. What a great story. A step back in time.

    I think you should petition the town counsel for a hitching post at the front door.

    I love that voting box. I would like to have that in my living room, a conversation piece as my mother would call it.

  5. Great story Terry! Too bad voting seems just another chore to the majority of us…..And Helen I love the idea of a Town administrator. I know our town (pop. aprox. 10000), could sure benefit by having one for several reasons!

    • We do have a paid town administrator and town clerk. But policy and a lot of work is done by the volunteer boards.

  6. Oh how I loved this story. And I too had the thought (with clear visual of the cover) of the book! Tonka is so darned beautiful, I think a watercolor children’s book with illustrations of him (and you) would be amazing. And send a nice subtle message about civics to kids at the same time. Seriously!

  7. That ballot box sure looks familiar. One of the regular election workers was known as the ‘TownCrank’. A friend of mine, Richard Ketchen, clockmaker, keeps the hand cranked boxes (I think there are two?) tuned up.
    Interesting that though more houses are built the population remains about the same. When I moved to Carlisle about 1967 the population was just under 5,000.
    I agree with Ken. There should be a hitching post at the Town Hall. Could be a Boy Scout project.

  8. I love it. Even a bit surprised that there is no hitching post. Good project for someone.

    When i go to vote and there are more poll workers than voters I think of the millions of people who have been killed or tortured for a right we don’t seem to value. A bittersweet feeling.

    I agree with the others about a book. A watercolor of that tail would be spectacular.

  9. Love this post. I love following all your adventures.

  10. Lovely post, I too love reading about your adventures.

  11. And look at all of the wonderful blues you captured with your camera: the sky, your outfit, and Tonka’s “outfit,” all perfect for poll day!

  12. I love Tonka’s ear coverings. I thought it was something with horns at first. Did you make that for him?

    • I didn’t make his ear protectors – it’s an inexpensive thing made in India. But, a hundred years ago you would have seen horses dressed in elaborate, hand-knotted fly sheets!

  13. I LOVE your voting story and pictures. Also agree with Marie – next book “Tonka goes to VOTE” as titled by Russ.

  14. Terry! The only thing else you needed was a little wine stop on the way!

    • Steve started at the stable, then in the time it took me to ride over, he drove there, voted, chatted, and waited for me.

  15. I want to live there and get a horse too. What happened to America? Life used to be simple and fun when I grew up in the 50’s, I sure miss those days. Love your story and am a fan for life now.

  16. What a lovely story and pictures. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  17. Our voting turnout is the same too. It seems that only a Presidential elections get a lot of attention. I thanked the volunteers for being there last Saturday when I voted for a runoff election for one councilman’s spot. I was the only one in there at that time voting. It is sad. Men and women gave their lives, so we can vote. Volunteers give up an entire day, so we can vote.

  18. I figured I’d see you and Tonka along with the voting report in ‘The Mosquito’. There was the mention on page 1 and the pic (by Steve) on page 5.