Fred Hopman considers his ballot Friday at The Timbers. In the background is former Van Buren County clerk Shirley K. Jackson. (Photo by JOHN EBY)

Archived Story

Timbers’ residents cast absentee ballots

Published 3:17pm Sunday, November 4, 2012

First in line with his absentee ballot at The Timbers of Cass County Friday was former sixth-grade teacher Fred Hopman.

“I was eager to vote,” said Hopman, who figures his first presidential election pitted John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon in 1960.

“This year, I voted a straight ticket,” he said, “and I won’t tell you which way.”

“I came back here in ’77,” Hopman said. “I was in the Peace Corps in three countries for about eight years — Lesotho (an enclave surrounded by South Africa), Paraguay and Belize. I used to live at Magician Lake. I’ve always enjoyed your paper. I think it’s one of the best papers I’ve ever seen that spends so much time on education, and not just sports. I’ve noticed that.”

He said he’ll be glad to see campaigning finally end.

“I’m glad I’m not getting phone calls like mad, and the TV commercials are just outrageous,” Hopman said.

Greeting voters at the sign-in table was Shirley K. Jackson. She was in her element as former Van Buren County clerk.

Within a matter of minutes of the poll opening, there were four wheel chairs lined up into the hall outside the activities room.

Another woman, who happens to also be named Shirley Jackson, served refreshments, including punch, cupcakes and Hostess treats.

“I’m the ‘other’ Shirley Jackson — but I was the first one here,” she said.

Hopson took a Twinkie for the road as he headed to occupational therapy.

The Dowagiac skilled nursing and rehabilitation center has approximately 85 residents. Twenty-two voted absentee.

Steve Case, facility administrator, made sure sure all residents who wished to vote were properly registered and given an opportunity to request absentee ballots.

Cheri Nowicki, activities director, had a special station set up in the activities room at The Timbers from 9 a.m. until noon Friday.

Nowicki said 74 voted in the mock election, held in conjunction, between residents and first-shift staff, with President Barack Obama prevailing over Gov. Mitt Romney, 41-33.


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