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Herb Lewis urges 100 percent turnout

May 29, 2013

During World War II, 1038 Walpole residents served in the military. 29 of them died.

On Jan. 14, 1943, during the height of the war, local insurance agent and Town Treasurer Herbert Lewis (at the time, Treasurer was an elected position) wrote an impassioned plea to fellow residents of his community in The Walpole Times to urge them to vote in the January 18, 1943 town election, as a tribute to residents of the town serving overseas. I think the message Lewis attempted to convey in urging high voter turnout still holds true today, even though the circumstances have changed.

Take a look at what Lewis wrote, and take some time to think for yourself about why you should make sure you, your family, your friends, and everyone you know, should vote in the upcoming 2013 town election (reprinted with permission of the Times):

The last issue of this paper carried a small advertisement urging the voters of Walpole to look for my “red-hot” advertisement in this weeks’ Walpole Times.

I have, in times past, urged the voters of Walpole to cast their ballots for me, and the favorable response to such requests has been very gratifying at all times. Fortunately for me, there is no competitor for the office of Town Treasurer, and my request for your vote, at this time, can be a purely unselfish request. I do, however, plead for you to vote on January 18th for the following reasons.

We are engaged in a war to defend and perpetuate our democracy which we so dearly love, and which we are proud to hold forth as an example to all nations of the world.

One of the true manifestations of a democracy is the right and privilege of the free ballot, and every voter should show the young men who are now defending that privilege and the young men who may soon be called to defend it that we at home appreciate our democracy and the privileges and comforts it affords, and that we appreciate the sacrifices being made to preserve it.

It would please me, as I know it would please you, if we could tell every man in the service and every young man about to enter the service that the voters left at home, in his own home town, have shown their appreciation of the ideals for which he is fighting by voting 100% on election day.

Who you vote for is your own personal business, and no one, as long as democracy continues, can ration that privilege or dictate the terms of its enjoyment, but be assured that any candidate who is placed in office by the entire vote of his community, rather than by a small vote of personal friends or party affiliates, will be inspired to serve all his town to the best of his ability.

Perhaps it may be inconvenient for you to go to the polling place, but it certainly has not been convenient for our boys to leave their homes, to give up their jobs or to abandon their plans for the future.

Perhaps it will make you late for your dinner or for some other engagement, but meals are not regular on Bataan or at Tunisia and engagements there or on any of the other battlefronts are neither social nor enjoyable.

Perhaps you may have to walk a few miles to vote, but more than sixty one thousand of our boys have walked their last mile in the defense of your privilege to do so.

Should not this list of sacrifices instill a realization of the worth of our country, and should we not be inspired to make small sacrifices to bolster the morale of our boys?

Talk it over now with your family and plan to vote 100% in your household: If you do not vote, it can not be 100% for Walpole. If you do vote, you will have done your part.

If it could be possible for you to mark your ballot and mail it to some loved one in the service, you would be glad and proud to do it, even though it would be necessary for you to make some sacrifice to do so.

Please vote on January 18th, and make it possible for us to tell our loved ones and the whole world that we in Walpole are appreciative of our democracy, and that we are preserving the ideals and traditions of this small part of it, and that we will continue to do so until our boys “come marching home.”

HERBERT W. LEWIS

Unfortunately, despite the above being published in the Times, voter turnout in the 1943 town election was 48 percent, with only 1,809 voting. Not 100 percent, but not too shabby, either.

Turnout in this year’s town election, on Saturday, is expected to be no more than 30 percent.

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