Have you voted yet? Personally I liked the olden days when voters actually went to the polls to vote. The ladies at the Congregational Church would find your name on the list and then you made your choices.
Voting by mail is much more convenient … but not as rewarding.
Elections in a small town can be low key and not very exciting — when you know you are going to have to run into your opponent in the grocery store, local elections, for the most part, remain fairly civil.
While reading an old Forks Forum from March 1951, I found one of the most interesting elections in West End history!
The headline on the front page of the March 1, 1951, Forks Forum read “Little Interest in Town Election”.
It seems that in February 1951 incumbent Mayor Don Warner felt he didn’t have the time to devote to being the mayor of the town of Forks. So two individuals, Walter Roberge and Russell Thomas, were nominated to run at a caucus held at the Olympic Theater.
In the month that followed nobody advertised they were running … no other stories appeared in the paper … but trouble was brewing …
In a surprise write-in campaign Dr. U.S. Ford won.
A week before the election Ford and his supporters staged a surprise campaign. The election, which previously had been shown little interest, was one of the most exciting in Forks’ history. Ford had won by eight votes and the turnout of voters was the largest in the town’s history.
Ford was sworn in, in June, and things started happening … the police chief resigned, some staff was let go, bids were coming in for a new city hall and then in October 1951, Dr. Ulric S. Ford up and died!
Then the next two issues of the Forks Forum are missing … so I don’t know what happened.
In other election news, the Fire District’s proposition has brought several letters to the editor questioning the need for the proposition and the calculations. I don’t know what the answer is but I do know we need our volunteer fire department. So do we pay more taxes or do we pay higher insurance premiums, because our volunteer department doesn’t meet the rating requirements that keep our insurance costs lower.
The fire department repeatedly asked for more volunteers to help with additional requirements, now mandated by the state, with regard to testing equipment, etc., that needs to be done on a weekly basis. Nobody volunteered.
Those tasks fell to the chief and like most of the other volunteers, they are not independently wealthy and actually have jobs and the time requirements of all volunteers have increased over the years. So what do we do?
I also know that while I slept warm and comfy in my bed early Sunday morning six members of our community jumped out of their warm and comfy beds and fought a fire. What would we do if they are not there the next time and it is my/your home?
One of the biggest things we could all do as a community is support the efforts of those that are pressing for an answer to the trust land harvest arrearage. Funds that should be going to our fire department, our schools and our hospital have drastically reduced. This arrearage also could have kept some of our local mills in business.
So, go forth and vote, otherwise don’t complain — and if anyone has more details on what happened in 1951, after the death of Mayor Ford, please share.