Voting is a family tradition for Carson City man |

Voting is a family tradition for Carson City man

by Jill Keller, Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen AllisonReuben Law, 104, has voted in every election since 1918. He sent an absentee ballot from France that year. Law uses his his sample ballot to help him remember his choices. Law has passed along his strong sense of civic duty to his four children and 11 grand children.

The last time Carson City resident Reuben Law missed his chance to vote in person was in 1918, when he sent an absentee ballot from France from his station during World War I.

Since then, nothing has kept Law, age 104, away from the polls.

His mother and grandmother, both avid voters and staunch Democrats, instilled a sense of responsibility that Law passed on to his children and their children.

“It was an insult to the family if anyone missed (voting),” Law said.

Sitting next to a picture box that holds his French Legion of Honor Medal, military patches and dog tags, the articulate former doughboy recalls memories of past political issues and chats easily about issues in the current election.

Law continues to do his homework before each election by keeping up with current news, reading his sample ballot and marking his votes.

Each election day, he walks in to the polls on his own and takes his time, carefully making sure his vote is made correctly, just as his mother did until she died at 109.

“It’s difficult to know how to vote,” Law said. He describes himself as a Republican who votes independently occasionally.

The Minnesota native said he is amazed at the percentage of people now who don’t take the time to learn about the issues and go to the polls.

“People who don’t vote — to me — are slackers,” Law said. “They don’t do their duty.”

Law’s daughter agrees. Margaret Melrose, 78, of Minneapolis, Minn., said she remembers her father taking her to the steps of the St. Paul capitol building to hear Franklin D. Roosevelt give a campaign speech in the 1930s.

Back then, Law bought his first Ford for $150 and rented his first house for $37.50 a month.

He remembers having to write out his ballot by hand in the early days and has watched the process change over the years. Law also spent a couple of years in politics himself, serving as mayor of the small lakeside town of Emily, Minn., after he retired. Before then, he worked with local and state parks systems and as a landscape architect.

Law’s key for keeping his good health has been to “live with people that have a young outlook” and to work a little every day.

He has had a love for the outdoors his whole life, a life he shared with four children and 11 grandchildren. He moved to Carson City after his wife of more than 50 years, Hazel, passed away.

“I think I’d go to seed awfully fast if I sat and read all day,” Law said. He still tries to take a little time out of each day to work in the garden of the home he has shared with his son and daughter-in-law in Carson City for the past 10 years.