Residents still overlook importance of voting

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 19, 2007


There are thousands of eligible voters in Dallas County who aren&8217;t even registered &8212; right in the birthplace of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

That&8217;s good and bad.

Email newsletter signup

The good news is there&8217;s still time to register. The bad news is some won&8217;t because they just don&8217;t care.

Synethia Pettaway, Dallas County chief registrar, said she sees the apathy. Her suggestion on how to combat it is to involve as many young people in the process as possible.

Selma and Dallas County has a place in history and is known for its role during the Civil Rights movement for voting rights demonstrations. The Edmund Pettus Bridge is etched in the minds of persons the world-over as a famous landmark where peaceful protesters were beaten on March 7, 1965, as the national media brought violent images to the nation.

Most of the college students of today weren&8217;t 18 during the last presidential election. Next year Alabamians will go to the polls to vote for the next president earlier than ever. The primary in Alabama has been moved up to Feb. 5 in 2008. It had been in November.

There are 29,339 active voters in Dallas County, as of Dec. 4, according to statistics from the Dallas County Voter Registrar&8217;s office. Active voters are those who voted in at least one election over the last four years.

A breakdown by race indicates 10,424 are white and 18,753 are black. There are 162 residents in Dallas County who identified themselves as &8220;other.&8221; A breakdown by gender indicates 17,289 are female and 12,050 are male.

During the Feb. 5, 2008 primary voters have to declare a party affiliation by voting Democrat or Republican, Pettaway said. The deadline to register is 10 days before the primary. Voters who don&8217;t participate in the primary can still vote in the November 2008 general election, but only if they&8217;re registered.

Pettaway said she encourages groups to hold voter registration drives.