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Rocky Harbour senior votes in a municipal election for the first time ever

The Town of Rocky Harbour posted this picture of Lillian Payne on its Facebook page after she voted on Tuesday. It was the first time the 76-year-old woman had ever voted in a municipal election.
The Town of Rocky Harbour posted this picture of Lillian Payne on its Facebook page after she voted on Tuesday. It was the first time the 76-year-old woman had ever voted in a municipal election.

There’s no doubt there were a few first-time voters in Tuesday’s municipal elections, but one in particular stood out in Rocky Harbour.

Lillian Payne has lived in the Northern Peninsula town, in the heart of Gros Morne National Park, since she was 10 years old.

But at 76, Payne had never voted in a municipal election, until this year.

Payne laughed when contacted by The Western Star to talk about the experience.

She and friend regularly go out for coffee, she said, but on Sunday the woman fell down and broke her arm. When Payne called her Tuesday to see if they were still going to go, the woman asked if she was going to vote.

“Well, I don’t know,” was her response and the woman indicated she planned to vote.

Now the woman couldn’t drive, so Payne would be doing the driving.

“I thought well I’ve got to up with her and giver her a ride up, I might as well go in, too.”

And so she did.

Payne said she doesn’t follow the activities of the town council and didn’t even know who the mayor was until someone told her recently.

She’s even had said jokingly that if something happened to her water and sewer she couldn’t complain because she never voted.

She had no reason for not voting before, just that she never did.

With 14 people on the ballot she had some choices to make, but said it wasn’t hard.

“Most of them I knew anyway.”

There were only a few names she wasn’t familiar with. “One time you knew everybody in Rocky Harbour, but you don’t today.”

By the time Payne got home news of her voting had already travelled across the country as the town posted her picture on its Facebook page and her son had called from Ontario to say he’d seen it.

Payne figures she’ll keep on voting from here on out.

“Everything for the first time, I guess,” she said with a laugh.

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