FEBRUARY 12, 1953
NEW YORK, Wednesday—On Monday evening I went to New Brunswick, N.J., and spoke at Rutgers University on "United Nations and What It Does." And after a rather lengthy talk the half-hour question period that followed was stretched to three-quarters of an hour, which showed great interest on the part of the audience.
On Tuesday I worked a full morning at the American Association for the U.N. office. Then I spent the afternoon being frivolous, which was intended to prepare me for an evening lecture I dreaded because I do not feel qualified to meet with students who are accustomed to a course under a regular professor! But, since this professor-friend had asked me to come, I decided that if I were not doing too well he could always take over and I would learn something even though I might have provided little that was new for the students.
I was interested in the report in Tuesday evening's newspapers on the fight in Albany over permanent personal registration of voters. I had an impression that a number of civic organizations throughout the state, including the League of Women Voters, were in favor of this bill, but this was not mentioned in the article and I wonder if I was wrong. It appears to have been strictly a party-line vote, with 96 Republicans voting against permanent registration and 51 Democrats for it.
As I read the article, the Democrats contended that after the initial expense of installation it would be a much cheaper method of voting and it would do away with fraud. Every citizen would have to register in person once, then that citizen would not be required to reappear unless he changed his address or failed to vote at least once in a four-year period.
I do not vote in New York City, so I do not have to go through the bothersome situations that confront a great many voters. In order to register in New York City one must stand in line for registration every time he intends to vote, sometimes for hours. This always has seemed like an imposition because it makes registration very difficult and it means that one must arrange to be in town on one of the registration days. Otherwise, one cannot vote, and right there, you can be sure, is one of the reasons the percentage of eligible voters who go to the polls is not as high as it should be. Business or health reasons may prevent registration on any one of the days set, yet if you miss registration you lose your vote.
If one had only to register once and then carry out one's duty on Election Day, the difficulties would be very greatly obviated. However, since the Republicans have voted down the proposed legislation, those of us who live in rural areas will go on registering just as we have registered for years and so will the voters in the cities.
I have just read that Miss Louise Hackmeister will no longer be at the switchboard in the Executive Offices in Washington. I think anyone who has ever watched her at work or had anything to do with her would want, as I do, to pay her a tribute for work well done over a long period of years.
I have never known anyone more resourceful in tracking down people nor more even-tempered and calm when good temper and calmness were essential. There must be many people, both Republicans and Democrats, who will want to say a word of thanks to a public servant who has carried on in her job over a long period of years in a completely nonpartisan manner.