In 1991, my Great Grandmother, Mariana, cast her absentee ballot from a long term nursing facility in Iowa. At the time, she was thought to be the oldest voter in Iowa. She was 106 years of age and had been voting since she first became eligible. I, myself, don’t recall when I cast my first ballot, but I do recall my daughter’s excitement to cast her first ballot for the 2016 election. She had just graduated high school and was preparing to leave in October for a volunteer service program with AmeriCorps. She was amped, ready, and prepared to vote. Before the deadline, she requested her absentee ballot to be sent to her temporary address in Colorado. . . but it never arrived. Her voice, her vote, were lost in that election. But, not again.
Since then, it has become a tradition to vote together. We’ve voted early, and we’ve voted on Election Day. We vote during Midterms and Municipal elections. I will never forget driving and driving trying to scout out a parking space near Adamsville Rec center to vote in the 2008 election. The blocks around the rec center were lined with parked cars of people making their voices heard. Once inside, I was amazed at the turnout. . . I was given a ticket number, # 345. I don’t recall how long the voting process actually took, but I do distinctly remember the excitement and pride in the atmosphere and staying up ALL NIGHT for the results. For the 2020 election, my daughter and I early voted at Adamsville Rec Center n/k/a C.T. Martin Recreation Center, and again, the turnout was phenomenal. From getting in line to casting our ballots, our voting experience was 2 hours and 46 minutes long. We were not going to be deterred. The motto at the time was “as long as it takes.” That’s how long we were going to wait to vote. . . "as long as it takes."
We must know that no matter what, our voices matter, our votes matter, and ALL elections matter. . . from PTA to Municipal to Federal. You must vote. And a woman, a civil rights icon, from right here in our very own neighborhood, understood the importance of voting in all elections and made sure everyone she could reach understood the same. Ms. Ella Mae Wade Brayboy who lived at 200 Chappell Road NW became one of the first black deputy registrars in Atlanta in 1964. She registered thousands of voters. Some historians say she registered more than 10,000 voters! Her passion and diligence to register voices and votes earned her the name, The Godmother of Voter Registration. Let’s keep our civil rights pioneers, their sacrifices and accomplishments, in the forefront of our minds as we exercise the precious right of voting. Don't throw it away.
What can you do to ensure you and your neighbor Get Out and Vote? Please ensure you are registered to vote. Have you moved recently? Has your polling precinct changed? Will you be out town and need an absentee ballot? Were you affected by redistricting? Do you know who the candidates are and which elections are upcoming?
For the most up to date election and registration information please visit https://mvp.sos.ga.gov/s/
See you at the polls! (for as long as it takes)