ABC 27's Why I Vote: Giving voices to Big Bend and South Georgia communities

Posted at 5:29 PM, Oct 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-19 17:29:22-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla (WTXL) — As we head into the election we're talking to people in our communities about what's sending them to the polls this November.

This week in our Why I vote series looks at two veterans who have defended our freedom for your right to vote.

"I was in the service during the Vietnam era from 1964 to 1968," said John Folsom.

"I was in the Air Force," Val Frailey said. "From 59-65."

Both are veterans and both are members of American Legion Post 13 in Tallahassee. Both say voting is something very important to them.

"I've voted in every election since - at the time you had to be 21," said Folsom.

"I've voted in every election possible, including some where I was overseas," Frailey said.

Now, they're voting for the future of our country. For Frailey, his faith plays a big role in making that decision.

"I believe that we are electing people who really enjoy having God in their life," said Frailey.

Folsom has family on his mind.

"We have an amendment on the ballot that I, in some small part, helped work for," Folsom said.

He's talking about amendment six in Florida. If passed, it would allow a veteran's surviving spouse to receive a homestead property tax discount until he or she remarries, sells, or otherwise disposes of the property, which could have big implications for Folsom's wife.

"She and I have been married for over 50 years," said Folsom. "Why should she be penalized because I died?"

He's proud to have defended our freedom to vote, even if some issues have parts of the country divided.

"All the veterans, regardless of where they were stationed, did sign that contract," Folsom said. "If you call me up and send me, I'm going to go there and do what I need to do."

They're furthering the rights laid out by our founding fathers.

"They're the rights of the people," said Frailey. "We the people need to make sure that we vote for those who will make certain that those continue to exist."

As they join other veterans across the country by voting they have a message for us all.

"Many elections have been decided by very few votes," Frailey said.

"Your vote is important to get in there so the views you like you can express," said Folsom.

Forty-six percent of military voters turned out for the 2016 election, according to the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

That's why they vote.

We want you to tell us why you vote, what's sending you to the polls this election.

You can do it right now, underneath the Why I Vote story at the top of the WTXL Tallahassee Facebook page by clicking here.

Or share with us on Twitter using the hashtag #ABC 27WhyIVote.