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Voting Clipart

Voting Clipart

Yesterday, the First Circuit Court of Appeals said that the New Hampshire law banning a person from displaying a marked ballot reflecting how he or she voted including posting of those images on social media sites violates First Amendment rights of voters. The law carried up to a $1,000 fine. The appellate court determined that the law violates free speech rights protected by the First Amendment. The law was enacted to avoid vote buying and voter intimidation, what it did was spark a controversy in this social media age over the “ballot selfie”. The law, which originated in one form in 1891 was intended to combat voter intimidation and vote buying. It was amended in 1911 to forbid any voter from “allowing his ballot to be seen by any person, with the intention of letting it be known how he is about to vote.” In 2014 New Hampshire amended that statute to read:

No voter shall allow his or her ballot to be seen by any person with the intention of letting it be known how he or she is about to vote or how he or she has voted except as provided in R.S.A. 659:20. This prohibition shall include taking a digital image or photograph of his or her marked ballot and distributing or sharing the image via social media or by any other means. 

The appellate court determined that just applying intermediate scrutiny the statute is unconstitutional. Intermediate scrutiny basically means that the statute has to at least be narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest. There is no proof that vote buying or voter intimidation is an actual problem in New Hampshire and there was definitely no proof that posting how you voted on Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat was going to cause any voter intimidation or vote buying and most definitely none sufficient to outweigh the First Amendment free speech rights that were being affected by the statute.

The appellate court in upholding the district court’s ruling completed its opinion with the simple adage “a picture is worth a thousand words”. You can read more about this here.

In Vermont there is no law against photographing your ballot, but since there is a law still on the books about publishing how you are going to vote before you cast your ballot, wait to post that selfie until you have already submitted your ballot. But probably the most important take on all of this is that, ballot selfie or not, we all should get out there and vote.

There is something to be said for knowing where you are at all times. I don’t mean generally knowing where you are… but more like an exact pinpoint someone-needs-to-rescue-you-from location. Such was the case today, as I was driving along, minding my own business, enjoying my me time as I was headed to pick up a son and his friend who had spent the weekend in New Hampshire. I was headed for the pre-designated drop-off/pick-up location to meet them when suddenly and without any warning, my accelerator failed to accelerate. Let me tell you that it is very difficult to drive up hill when you cannot accelerate — and if this happens to happen on the highway, it prove most disturbing to the driver (i.e. Me). Luckily I was able to pull over to the side of the highway before losing all momentum and there I sat.

Armed with my AAA card, I immediately called for assistance, apparent to me that a non-running car does one no good and being over an hour from home, a phone call to my husband was not the wisest of first choices since it was not an easy come-get-me call. It occurred to me when the person on the other end of the phone asked me my location, that while I generally knew where I was and where I was headed, I had absolutely no idea of my exact location when the car stopped running, having not really been paying much attention to landmarks along the way. Together, the very nice woman on the other end of the phone and I figured out where I was located enough to give that information to the tow truck driver. Even better though, a state trooper stopped and was not only able to tell me exactly where I was located but also call the towing company directly so that they were en route with a minimal wait on my end.

The tow truck driver was kind enough to give me a ride up the road to a nearby convenience store, where I was able to catch a ride from my son’s friend’s dad when he got into the area. We were safely deposited at our pre-designated location and waited for my hubby to make his way over to pick us all up and drive us home. Luckily because it was a beautiful day, my other son and his girlfriend decided against joining me on the trek over to pick up his brother and opted to stay home and spend time outside enjoying the sunny day instead of stuck in a car. Otherwise, I am not sure how we would have managed the extra two people in getting from there to here. All things happen for a reason and today was a clear example of that.

Lesson learned — be ever cognizant of where you are, since you never know when you will have to tell someone where you are and how to get to you, even when it is the last thing on your mind.


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We spent a nice afternoon together over in New Hampshire and enjoyed some pretty good Mexican food (since contrary to my children’s opinion Taco Bell and Chili’s are NOT Mexican food) over in Keene. Walked around even though it was quite windy, had some cappuccino and did a little shopping (for them, not me). A nice day, relaxing and now, hopefully soon, we’ll start a fire in the woodstove, since it’s supposed to be in the 20s tonight. We didn’t see the snow that a lot of towns around here did, which is kinda good since it is almost mid-May.

It is the end of what was a really nice weekend and it wasn’t just because we were child-less (although that was really nice too). The boys are back from their camporee and Tim was elected to Order of the Arrow so after he endures his Ordeal, that will make all three boys that are in the Order. Pretty neat. It was a beautiful weekend here, the rain that was supposed to come today has held off until either later tonight or tomorrow. We were able to get some yardwork chores done this morning and this afternoon in between me taking pictures – gosh I LOVE my camera.

Spring has definitely sprung, although it’s still not warm enough during the day to extract the honey. The hives are stacked up in the potting shed, we are just waiting for a nice warm day.

Tom found this nest in the barn and Momma bird let me actually take some pictures.

We dropped Tom’s mother off at the train station in Bellows Falls Saturday and then took a drive over to Keene. While we were there we discovered a great Thai restaurant on Main Street and enjoyed a delicious late lunch which was a real treat.

Photo: Rutland Herald

For those of you in the Vermont area, you undoubtedly have sat by, day after day, in the last few weeks, hearing about the tritium leak at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. So have I. There are very few times in my life that I have felt passionate enough about a subject to stand up and be counted. This, however, is one of those times. The state of Vermont is literally sitting on its hands while they allow an outside corporation, Entergy, to leak radioactive materials into the groundwater. Just the day before yesterday, it was disclosed that they are drilling test wells to test the water in the nearby elementary school and nursing home to see if it too is contaminated. Almost simultaneously news broke that the leak has spread to the Connecticut River. The Vermont Legislature’s own experts have said that the leak is larger than a football field, 35 feet deep, 400 feet long and 200 feet wide. More importantly than that, it is possibly leaking into the water that children in the area who attend the local elementary school wash with and drink. Am I the only one that is outraged and startled by this? That same evening, in the newspaper alongside this news was an article how the Vermont Legislature is writing to Boy Scouts to review its policy on homosexuality to permit a lesbian couple to be cub scout leaders? Where are the Legislators’ priorities at this moment in time? The news is conspicuously absent any mention of how the Legislature or the Governor was taking action to CLOSE THIS PLANT DOWN in order to immediately contain the environmental impact. Nope, not a word. Water that is a part of daily Vermont life and considered a natural resource is being contaminated on a daily basis and that contamination is now into the river. The river that we share with New Hampshire and that flows into Massachusetts. The river that children swim in and farmers take water from to feed livestock that we eat and produce the milk for our dairy products. This morning’s paper had the headline that the Legislature’s own expert advised that the ONLY way to stop the leak is to shut the plant down. Yet, no action has been taken. Sad however to say that a local man, a few towns over from here, buried some oil barrels full of waste oil on his property. He was short of crucified by the authorities for causing environmental contamination. Yet, a multibillion dollar corporation can operate a plant which is causing contamination that is light years of magnitude larger than the little man with his oil barrels. Another instance of how our government somehow cringes in the face of the corporations yet its own constituents, the ones that elected them and chose them to represent the people’s interests are treated like second class citizens. At what point have we become, not a government of the people, by the people and for the people, but rather a government of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations? It is a sad commentary on our government, both the legislature that supposedly represents our interests and the governor that has taken a duty to serve the people of Vermont, that both would cowtow to a corporation, giving it one opportunity after the next to lie, rather than take swift decisive action.

The argument is that the closure of the plant would result in loss of electricity for the state and jobs. These are things that are not temporal, rather it is real and it will have real and very long consequences. Far longer than the loss of jobs or the transfer of electricity sources, which will be temporary inconveniences and roadblocks. I am sure that there is not one person out there, employed by Entergy or not, who would prefer that they and their children endure the consequences of contaminated water. I am sure that if push came to shove, not one of those people would sit down and gulp a big giant glass of the water coming from the plant or the water sources that it has now contaminated and thought that it was good. We are not a stupid people.

I have watched from the sidelines since we live no where near this part of Vermont. If I lived closer, if it were my children’s school that may potentially be involved or my dairy farm that was now in danger, I would be living at the Legislature’s building as I am sure that many who do live in the area are doing right now. I would be camping out on my Legislator’s dooryard. I would be demanding action and they would not be able to ignore me. I would be the thorn in their side on this issue.

Let’s hope that by enough outrage, our Legislators and our Governor finally take some decisive swift action. Someone has to make a move, let’s hope it’s just not too late – for all of us.

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Today has been a LONG day. We left early this morning to return our travel trailer and just got back a little while ago. Vermont and New Hampshire are truly behind the saying “uphill both ways”. We went uphill with the trailer going to Maine and uphill back as well as uphill bringing it home and back to the rental place. Trust me, pulling a several thousand pound trailer, you are really aware of uphills, so we are certain that there is truth to that saying.

The kids are here, the kids are here….. more on that tomorrow.

Evilwife on the move

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