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Age no barrier to vote
Precinct worker Belva Mays (right) puts an “I Voted” sticker on 100-year-old voter Raymond Ross at the Bassett Volunteer Fire Department voting precinct Tuesday. Ross voted for only the second time in his life that day. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Thursday, November 8, 2012
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
A centenarian was among the thousands of Henry County voters to cast his ballot Tuesday.
Raymond Ross, of Bassett, went to his precinct at the Bassett Volunteer Fire Department and voted for President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, according to his daughter, Helen Jones.
Tuesday marked the second time Ross voted in a presidential election, she said.
Jones’ now late husband, Allen Jones, was an active Democrat in the 2008 election. He “registered Daddy and he carried him to the polls” for the first time when Ross was 96 years old, Helen Jones said.
About a month ago, Jones said her father, whom she has nicknamed “Mr. Layman,” asked her, “When do we vote? I figured that was the last thing on his mind,” but it clearly was not.
Because the temperature was chilly on Election Day, Jones said she decided to wait until the afternoon — and the expected higher temperature — to take her father to the precinct.
After Ross cast his ballot, Jones said poll workers and other voters gave him a round of applause. Many others embraced Ross and shook his hand.
“Nobody could believe this man,” Jones said.
Jones added that she does not know if her father watched any election returns, but she said, “I doubt it. He was up early this morning” and headed out with other family members.
An article about Ross reaching the century mark ran in the Martinsville Bulletin on Oct. 14. When she learned he would be featured again in the newspaper, Jones said she quipped to Ross that he was going to be “the mayor of Bassett now.”
As is typical, he had little, if any, response, Jones said.
“Daddy is a man of few words,” a trait that Jones said she partially attributes to his longevity.
Ross “doesn’t complain, and I’m a firm believer that God gives you what you say,” Jones said. Her father, “just doesn’t say much. I always say ‘It’s God’s super on his natural that keeps him here,’” she added.