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November 5, 2012

Lawrence's 'oldest voter' still inspired after 22 presidential elections

LAWRENCE — At age 106, Obeline Biron remains outspoken in her opinions on the American electoral process, which she insists everyone has a civic duty to participate in.

“To be a good American, you’ve got to vote,” the city’s oldest registered voter declared in an interview last week.

“I still got my marbles, so I’ll keep on voting,” Biron said as she sat in her room at the Mary Immaculate Nursing/Restorative Center, reflecting on more than eight decades of voting — including 22 presidential elections.

Voting means so much to Biron that she was ready to raise a ruckus last month after somebody at City Hall forget to mail her an absentee ballot. She finally got the ballot after “getting a runaround” and several calls on her behalf. But, she’s still upset about it.

“Somebody’s not on the ball over there. I’ve always voted, so how can they forget me,” she said.

Biron no longer reads a daily newspaper, but stays current with national and world affairs by watching the news on the television set in her room at the nursing home.

Voting is something Biron said she’s never taken for granted — especially not after 1920, the year the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote.

Biron, who was then a 14-year-old living in Connecticut, recalled how her mother celebrated that historic event.

“On that election day, it was the first time women could vote,” Biron said.

“My mother was so glad she danced all around the kitchen floor and that left an impression on me. She always voted and loved to vote. She always knew what was best for her. So, I followed her example. I was brought up that voting was very important. It’s the country we live in and we want it run by the best,” she said.

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