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Making her voice count…at 103 Mrs. Gertrude Bishop casts her vote in the 2020 elections

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
Having the right to vote is a privilege that every citizen of the United States has. It is a time to cast one’s vote for candidates ranging from local and city government to national Presidential elections.

Unfortunately, many still sit idly by and allow election after election to pass without registering and making their voices heard only to complain about those who are elected into office.

That, however, has not been the case for Elizabethton resident Gertrude Bishop who at 103 years of age made a trip to the T.A. Dugger precinct on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 – Election Day – where she is registered to vote and made her voice heard once again in a year where there are predictions of a record turnout of voters making their voices heard in a Presidential election.

For Mrs. Bishop, she can’t remember exactly how long that she has voted but knows that it was an important duty as a U.S. citizen to do her part.

“I have voted all my life and I still feel that I want to have a hand in it,” she said after casting her ballot.

She went on to add that she did feel this was one of the most important elections that she could remember and how important it was for people to take advantage of their one vote.

Born in 1917 in Sequatchie County in Dunlap which is next to Hamilton County in the Chattanooga area, Mrs. Bishop remembers her first time that she went to vote as a young lady.

“We lived in the country and the first time I voted I voted in a little cabin-like thing in the country,” Mrs. Bishop recalled. “I just walked in and did my voting and out we came.

“My father always enjoyed helping out with voting and I also helped.”

She couldn’t recall if those initially ballots were hand-written or not but agreed that technology has made it so much simpler to vote in current elections.

Many remember Mrs. Bishop from her years as an educator in Carter County.

“Well I taught four years at the high school from where I graduated and then I married and came here,” Mrs. Bishop said about how she found her way to the area. “In all, I taught 35 years at the high school level in Home Economics and English.”

Mrs. Bishop also was a mainstay when the Elizabethton Twins played attending many games and even providing a place to stay for the Twins players.

In closing, she had a very important message for those who are not registered to vote – especially young people.

“They need to register to vote,” said Mrs. Bishop. “Their lives are ahead of them and they need to know what’s going on in the country and they will have to cope with it.

“They need to get the best-qualified people to be in charge.”

Times have changed in many ways over the years in the life of Mrs. Bishop but one thing will be the same and that is as long as she is able she will be making sure that her voice is heard as she continues to cast her vote when election time rolls around.