Wheels of democracy: Determined voter, 101, pedals his bike to polls

2011-11-08T00:00:00Z 2011-11-18T03:45:09Z Wheels of democracy: Determined voter, 101, pedals his bike to pollsBy Vanessa Renderman vanessa.renderman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | Rain and wind aren't enough to keep Carl Deering from casting his vote Tuesday. But, snow might slow him down.

Just as he has for more than a decade, the 101-year-old will pedal a three-block route through North Hammond alleys to his polling place, using a bicycle he bought in 1946.

This is his 80th year voting.

"I've been voting since I was 21," he said. "I've never missed a vote."

That can't be said for most Lake County voters. Turnout in the 2007 general election was 28.5 percent.

Casey Farrell, a neighbor, said he hopes Deering's story will inspire people to vote Tuesday. The fact that Deering casts a vote in every election shows he appreciates the men and women fighting for the country's freedom and right to vote.

"To me, that's patriotic," Farrell said. "It's important to him."

Farrell said Deering usually shows up at the polling place on his bike between 10 and 11 a.m.

Deering, who describes himself as "a young 101," said he knows there are services that can pick him up and take him to vote, but he doesn't need help. He has his bike.

"I don't want to be picked up," he said. "I can get there."

Deering, a retired boilermaker, used to rely on his wife, Vernona, to drive him around. Since her death, he has relied on his own two feet and a mode of transportation that's been with him for more than six decades.

"When I came out of the service in '46, I needed something to get around," he said. "So, I bought this bike for $10."

He bikes to the bank, the barber and to the park. Relatives drive him when there's snow on the ground. Otherwise, Deering insists on transporting himself.

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