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Officials urge people to register to vote

From left, China Brown and Nicole Tapplar fill out voter registration forms in front of the government center Tuesday morning. As a part of National Voter Registration Day, local, state and congressional officials urged people to register to vote and to vote in the November General Election.

From left, China Brown and Nicole Tapplar fill out voter registration forms in front of the government center Tuesday morning. As a part of National Voter Registration Day, local, state and congressional officials urged people to register to vote and to vote in the November General Election.

ALBANY, Ga. — Elected officials from the local, state and federal level rallied in front of the Government Center downtown Tuesday to recognize National Voter Registration Day by urging those who haven’t registered to vote to do so while also chastising states who they say are making it more difficult to vote.

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, headlined the event Tuesday, which also featured state senators and representatives, sitting and former city commissioners, members of the clergy and heads of various social and civic organizations, many of whom took to the podium to urge people who aren’t registered to vote to sign up, and those are registered to be informed voters.

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Bishop, who is running for re-election to congress against Republican challenger John House, said that the U.S. has had a long history of extending voting rights to the masses, but said he was concerned that in recent years 41 states had taken action “to move backward.”

“We have got to understand that our country has had a long history of extending voting rights to all Americans. So, then, I have to ask the question: Why now are those rights being challenged by some states? Why are we going backwards?” Bishop said. “...we must continue to fight for the right to choose our leaders against those who wish to make it harder for us to exercise that right.”

Georgia’s voter I.D. law, which has been upheld by the courts, requires a voter to present one of a list of accepted photo identifications — a Georgia driver’s license (even if expired); a free voter I.D. card issued by the state or county; an I.D. card issued by Georgia or the federal government; a passport; a valid employee I.D. card with photo from a federal, state or local agency or board; a valid military I.D. card, or a valid tribal photo I.D.

A voter who does not have a photo I.D. at the poll can cast a provisional ballot and has three days to present valid photo I.D. to the voter registrar in order for the ballot to count.

State Sen. Freddie Powell-Sims, D-Dawson, called voter registration and the act of voting itself a non-partisan issue, saying that regardless of party, voters should thoroughly scrutinize the candidates and vote for the ones that best represent them.

“As citizens of these United States it is our obligation, it is our duty, to first scrutinize the candidates that are running for office to see what they have to say — how will their being in office, or not being in office, affect you and your family and your community?” Sims said.

Ward IV City Commissioner Roger Marietta, who also teaches political science at Darton State College, said it’s important that people disavow any apathetic tendencies towards getting involved in the political process; remembering the sacrifices made by those to ensure equal opportunities for all Americans to vote.

“What I’ve started to do instead of arguing about why a vote matters, is that I’ve tried to relate to them some of the battles that have been fought to get that right to vote,” Marietta said. “I challenge them to go down to the Albany Civil Rights Institute and walk through those exhibits and see the price that people had to pay to register to vote.”

National Voter Registration Day comes as the presidential race, along with several local races, are expected to be tight.

Far from the voter registration efforts seen in 2008, this effort is more subdued, elections officials say.

Currently, of Dougherty County’s 92,913 people, 52,168 or 56.1 percent, are registered voters listed as “active” on the board of elections’ roles. Another 6,999 are listed as “inactive” voters meaning that those voters are registered but haven’t voted in several years.

And the problem isn’t just among those who live in Dougherty County but have failed to register, the apathy extends even to those who have registered but, for whatever reason, chosen not to vote.

In the July primary races in which the entire county was eligible to vote, one of the more publicized and contentious races — the race between Dougherty County School Board incumbent Anita Williams-Brown and challenger Lane Price — drew what has been considered a strong turnout for Dougherty County, 15,196 voters; a figure that is still less than 30 percent of the total number of registered voters.

David Williams, president of the Albany-Dougherty Chapter of the NAACP and a former Albany city commissioner, told those in attendance that registering increases participation in elections.

“It’s important that every person who is over the age of 18, that does not have a felony or is up under a felony, to register to vote,” Williams said. “We are encouraging everyone to get out to vote and to register to vote.”

Like Marietta and Bishop, Williams also spoke about efforts to curb voter participation, but focused on past efforts like literacy tests, poll taxes, and requirements to “count bubbles in a bar of soap,” as ways to keep people from the polls.

State Rep. Carol Fullerton, D-Albany, who managed to win another term in the General Assembly in July after staving off a challenge from Dougherty County Commissioner Muarlean Edwards, said that examples abound locally and at the national level about the importance that just a few votes can have on an election.

“Remember back in 2000 when then-Gov. George Bush and Vice President Al Gore ran for president?” she said. “If you count the vote totals, Gore lost by fewer than 1,000 votes. Every vote counts.”

Oct. 9 is the last day for people to register to vote in the Nov. 6 General Election. The Dougherty County Elections Office at 222 Pine Ave., has voter registration forms and information. Early voting starts Oct. 15.

Comments

Fletch 1 year, 11 months ago

.... HA! ... Only if you intend to vote Democrap! .... How do they feel about registering as a Republican? ....

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TrixibelleBento 1 year, 11 months ago

Rats, you took my line! It's funny that the "new" voters tend to lean that way. Does that mean that Repulicans are more passionate about voting and getting registered? I don't know...

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tywebb 1 year, 11 months ago

It just means that the Repubs are smart enough to know how to register to vote without some giant campaign!

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missdaisy 1 year, 11 months ago

Please don't vote if you are ignorant or apathetic about the issues. We need to have a pre-test on some basic political matters before someone's vote counts. How about we weight our votes depending on how much tax we pay; the more taxes you pay, the more your vote counts.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 11 months ago

Voting should be the right of only tax-paying citizens.

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B4it 1 year, 11 months ago

Sis - I assume you know this is the way it used to be back in the early days.

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Shinedownfan 1 year, 11 months ago

I always thought it should be the property owners who should be able to vote... they have alot invested.

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VSU 1 year, 11 months ago

Who is going to vote against themselves getting free money?

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chinaberry25 1 year, 11 months ago

I saw a bill board sign on I-75 yesterday and it had Obama's picture on it. It said nothing but. if you think times are bad now, just wait until I am re-elected. Those signs cost $300/mo. wonder who is paying for it. CNBC already stated that if he gets re-elected, then we are in for some black times ahead and he has already stated there will be a major cut back on food stamps. So get ready! Albany will be a ghost town or at least the grocery store.

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carbonrob 1 year, 11 months ago

Apparently it wasn't that important of an issue to have folks register to vote before the 2008 elections. Why so now? I also personally feel that if you are required to have an I.D. to fly, to get a driver's license, to buy certain medications, to buy alcohol or cigarettes, then why should it be a big deal to have an I.D. to vote? If you have nothing to hide, then it shouldn't be an issue.

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tywebb 1 year, 11 months ago

unfortunately, the illegals DO have something to hide......and so do dead people, cats, dogs, little kids, etc.

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rightasrain 1 year, 11 months ago

Voter fraud is the ONLY reason the Democrats and Black constituents rail against showing a VALID Photo I.D. in order to vote. This coming election is going to be riddled with the greatest amount of voter fraud and racial violence in the history of this nation, just to attempt to keep a black in the White House. The bottom line however is this; no matter who goes into the White House, the infamous Florida "hanging chad" debacle will look like a picnic in the park compared to the law suits (some of which the paperwork has already been done), verbal castigation, and even racial violence that will follow this election.

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B4it 1 year, 11 months ago

RedEric previously posted the following in an article about Bishop Heard: The Bishop turned in a list of supporters, as required, and some were declared fraudulent. A lie. When the Bishops supporters have multiple IDs it is easy to get them mixed up.

I sure hope the elections office reps put controls in place to prevent those with multiple IDs from voting more than once, and prosecute those who try to commit voter fraud!

It is baffling to see the dumb masses continue to re-elect Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, John Conyers, and Sanford Bishop. These socialists thinkers continue to do more harm than good for our country.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 11 months ago

No Lie: I heard "The Reverend" Jesse Jackson on the radio this past Sunday morning on a call-in show telling Pastors in the Black Community to contact their local Democrat headquarters for help in getting signed up as "Registrars" in order to sign up their Congregations to vote (for Democrats of course).

That action is against IRS law and should be prosecuted wherever found. And "The Reverend" Jesse Jackson should be jailed for advocating the breaking of Federal Law.

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ObjectiveEyes 1 year, 11 months ago

Sanford Bishop turns a blind eye to voter fraud just like he did to the fraud-filled Pigford settlement, costing the US taxpayers Billions! This just in...there's a 3rd round of Pigford on tap...$50,000 to any Hispanic who "attempted to farm." Vote buying at its finest and I'm sure Bishop will support this, as well.

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ittybittyme 1 year, 11 months ago

The title of the article should read as follows: Officials urge voters to commit voter fraud...hahahaha...we know that goes on in Dougherty County...disgusting.

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