Nation's Last Vote Goes to Poll Worker

Wednesday, November 07 2012

(R) Mary Nelson, (C) City Manager Layton Lockett, (L) Mary Prince/Photo Courtesy of the City of Adak

At the same time as Mitt Romney took the stage to give his concession speech, the last voter in the nation was filling in the Romney/Ryan bubble on her ballot.

“I didn’t know the winner," Mary Nelson says.

Nelson lives in Adak. The town had its own polling station for the first time this year, but the island is so far west, it's in a different time zone from the rest of Alaska. That pretty much guaranteed that the results of the Presidential election would be a foregone conclusion by the time the polls closed. Nelson says she knew her vote wouldn't swing the national race, but she wanted to do her part anyways.

“I’m pretty proud of that - that I’m the last person in the country to vote.”

For this election, pride is the only prize for that distinction, but Adak city manager Layton Lockett says in the future, he wants to make it more of a thing.

“If this is the kind of thing we can capitalize on, maybe it means more people will exercise their civic duty. And I think we’d all benefit from that.”

In particular, Lockett sees the race to be the last voter as a way to get people out to polls on the less glamorous issues.

“We’re not just voting for the president in these elections of course, we’re voting for our state representatives and state senate seats and the bond propositions and things that impact us on a direct level. And the more participation we have in those, the more [we hear] the voice of the people.”

Future competitors for the last voter title might have a hard time unseating Mary Nelson. She’s volunteered for every election since she moved to Adak 16 years ago and she plans to be at the polls until they close next time around as well.

Lenore Frost on Wednesday, November 14 2012:

You can't have too much democracy. Go Adak!

Eleanor Post on Thursday, November 08 2012:

!what an interesting tidbit. We were stationed on Adak and found this to be so unique.

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