2008-11-13 / Local & State

88-Year-Old Goes The Extra Mile To Vote

Carolyn Hixon casts her vote from hospital bed
By Lindsay R. Mellott STAFF WRITER

Carolyn Hixon votes in last Tuesday's election from her hospital bed in Washington County Hospital, Hagerstown, after obtaining an emergency absentee ballot.

Like many Americans, Buck Valley resident Carolyn Hixon was eager to vote in last week's presidential election. The politically minded 88- year-old has never missed an election and, recognizing its historic importance, she certainly didn't want to miss the November 4 election.

For Carolyn, however, casting her vote wasn't going to be as simple as it has been in the past. While enjoying the Fulton Fall Folk Festival parade in Mc- Connellsburg October 18, Carolyn had the misfortune to fall. She was taken by ambulance to Fulton County Medical Center, where she was treated and sent home. Her recovery was going well, but on Nov. 1 complications from the fall sent her back to the hospital, this time to Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown.

According to granddaughter Megan Hixon, as she was being admitted, Carolyn's first question to the doctor was "Will I be out of her in time to vote?" Her doctor, Megan said, confessed that no patient had ever posed that question to him before.

Determined to vote, Carolyn began the process of getting an emergency absentee ballot. Her doctor prepared a notorized document attesting to her hospitalization and daughter Kay, on Election Day, brought it to the Fulton County Courthouse. Since county election officials had never before issued an emergency absentee ballot, some research of election law was needed before proceeding.

Approval by the court was required and Carolyn's daughter was assigned a case number. She waited in line for the judge to OK the doctor's notorized letter and issue an emergency absentee ballot that she then took back to Hagerstown so her mother could vote.

The completed ballot was returned to McConnellsburg, where it was notorized and given to the county election board, which had it handdelivered to Carolyn's polling place in Buck Valley. And so, Carolyn's vote was cast.

The Hixon family says that it means a lot to Carolyn that Americans are free to pick their leaders and that nothing would have stood in the way of her exercising her right to vote.

"She was aware of the fact that this was an historic election and she was aware of its importance," said Megan.

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