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franklin county times

Local group canvasses
community to register voters

By Staff
VOTER REGISTRATION Robert Neal, seated, fills out a voter registration form at Village Apartments on Saturday while Horatio Wilson, standing in the background, waits. Wilson is a member of the Christian-based group PASSAGE that works to register voters in the city's housing developments. Members of PASSAGE went door-to-door Saturday to register voters in time for the Nov. 2 elections. Also pictured are Neal's children, Christopher Seals, left, Malik Seals, Gary Seals and Ranastassia Neal. Photo by Georgia E. Frye / The Meridian Star.
By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
September 5, 2004
Cynthia Gibbs believes every vote counts.
But until Saturday, the 47-year-old resident of Village Apartments on Highway 19 North, didn't know what she needed to do to register to vote.
Thanks to a local group called PASSAGE an acronym for Positive Associates Systematically Seeking Advancement Growth and Empowerment Gibbs is ready to head to the polls in November to cast her vote.
Gibbs was surprised at how easy it was to register, and she thinks PASSAGE is providing a much needed service to the community.
With voter registration forms in hand, a group of about 50 local ministers and community members went door-to-door on Saturday to many of the city's housing developments to register voters. More than 100 volunteers went to Oakland Heights Apartments, Western Gardens Complex, Cedar Ridge Apartments, Village Apartments and Okatibbee Ridge Apartments.
Group members also were stationed at the Love City Fellowship Church on 11th Street, and at the Wal-Mart SuperCenter. Lamorris Richardson, pastor of Love City Fellowship Church, said volunteers registered more than 100 people.
He said he was pleased that the group was able to recruit so many new voters.
Rev. Odell Hopkins, the group's moderator, held a press conference at Love City Fellowship Church Saturday morning to announce a three-part initiative aimed at getting more people to the polls in November.
He said voter registration drives will continue through the end of the month. Then, the group will focus on educating the newly registered voters about the candidates and the issues. The final step, Hopkins said, is to get people to the polls on election day.
Others who participated in the voter registration drive were Melba Clark, chairman of the Lauderdale County Democratic Executive Committee, and PASSAGE members Patricia Flowers, the group's vice moderator, Charlotte Scott, financial secretary, and Casandra Sloan, secretary.
Hopkins said the group will not officially endorse any candidates, but he wants to remind people, especially those who live in the city's housing developments, that they have a right to vote.

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