Are you wasting your right to vote?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 2, 2004

Back in March, Jesse Jackson stood in the pulpit of Brown A.M.E Church and delivered a fiery message before helping lead thousands across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

In essence Jackson told the listeners not to disrespect the efforts of those who bled on that bridge, of those the marched all the way to Montgomery, of those who died for the right to vote.

“It you’re not registered to vote, don’t march across that bridge,” he said.

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Impassioned words in March often don’t mean much in June at the polls.

Though many local politicians are hopeful for a strong turnout for the June 1 primary, the trend around the nation and around the Black Belt is an apathetic voting populace.

“Voter apathy is a challenge in a great many elections. You would think here in the Black Belt that voter apathy wouldn’t be an issue all,” District Attorney Ed Greene said. “I would like to think that people would vote very well. The so-call experts seem to feel like there’s no burning issue, that there may not be a real turn out of voters.”

Most of the candidates running in the June 1 primary register voters at every event.

They need as many voters, as many of their supporters at the polls as possible.

Michael Jackson, who is opposing Greene in the district attorney race says voters are frustrated with the system.

“They think politicians are feeding them a bunch of BS,” Jackson said.

while Jackson said he follows the example of his mother.

“My mom, she always voted, as long as I can remember,” Jackson said. “When I turned 18, it was expected for me to get registered and go vote.

She always call me on election day.”

According to Greene, many experts feel it takes a major issue to bring voters to the polls.

“The so-call experts seem to feel like there’s no burning issue (this year). That there may not be a real turn out of voters,” he said. “That’s an indictment of our society as a whole. Our whole democratic society is based on an informed and involved an electorate.”

Come June 1, the primary election will happen.

Whether the polls are full or empty leaders will be chosen, changed or re-affirmed.

Whether or not the majority of people seem to care the process will continue.

“In our government, we change government, change philosophy (peacefully),” Greene added. “I think that is the mark of the goodness of our society.

Maybe this June more of the electorate will come out and get a glimpse of that goodness.