Congresswoman Annie Kuster chatted with Little Village Toy and Book Store owner Clare Brooks while visiting downtown Littleton last Thursday. (Photo by Angel Larcom) (click for larger version)
October 22, 2020LITTLETON — Congresswoman Annie McLane Kuster stopped briefly in Littleton last Thursday to visit local businesses and speak about the importance of voting in November. The afternoon visit followed a stop in Plymouth earlier that day.
Kuster faced Republican challenger Steve Negron on the debate floor later that evening. She is running for a fifth term in the Second Congressional District.
The Congresswoman was joined by fellow Democrats outside the Littleton Town Offices to discuss New Hampshire's absentee voting process.
Executive Councilor, District 1, Michael Cryans and Representative for Grafton 3, Susan Ford spoke briefly, while Representatives Linda Massimilla and Elaine French were also on hand.
"Granite Staters know how much is at stake in this year's election. Healthcare, good jobs, reproductive rights and our education system are on the ballot. The future of our planet is also on the ballot," stated Cryans. According to Cryans, 179,000 absentee ballot requests had been documented by the New Hampshire Secretary of State's office. Seventy-nine thousand had already been returned, he said. Cryans encouraged voters to submit ballots sooner rather than later to avoid the risk of late submissions not being counted. He then handed the mic over to Rep. Ford.
According to Ford, New Hampshire residents over the age of 18 can register to vote when they arrive at polling stations on Nov 3.
She said, "The election is crucial. Our democracy is at stake."
Kuster took the podium after Ford.
She said, "The purpose of this gathering is to remind everybody that voting is easy in New Hampshire. This year, it's easier than ever before. Because of COVID-19, the state legislature and the Governor signed a bill into law that made voting so much more accessible to people."
According to Kuster, residents have three voting options; voting early by requesting an absentee ballot at local town offices, requesting that an absentee ballot be mailed to your home or visiting local polling stations on Nov. 3. The Postal Service recommends that absentee ballots be mailed at least seven days before the election to be counted. All votes submitted this way must be received by 5 pm on election day.
"This is the most important election of our lifetime. Please make a plan. Tell your family and friends your plan and ask them what their plan is," stated Kuster.
After the brief gathering, Kuster and Cryans made stops at the Little Village Toy and Book Shop and Chutters candy store. Her goal was to hear directly from business owners how they had fared through the pandemic. Bookstore owner Clare Brooks told Kuster that she used all of her $30,000 in Payroll Protection Program funds to cover payroll costs. She also discussed the stringency of her in-store safety protocols.
"A lot of our business has been from tourism this summer. We've had a couple of tourists where we had issues but for the most part, they've come from places that are already inundated," stated Brooks.
Kuster told Brooks that she was working to make the PPP forgiveness process easier for small business owners.
She said, "Out of the 24,000 PPP loans in New Hampshire, 22,000 were under $150,000. We are trying to streamline that process so it won't be a big headache for you."
Residents who wish to request absentee ballots can gain more information by visiting www.voteinnh.org or calling 466-8683. Election Day is 13 days away.