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Frenchtown gets new voting location in effort to increase area voters

Posted at 6:31 PM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 18:31:57-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — In one week Florida will hold its primary elections and community members are doing all they can to encourage voters to turn out.

The Urban League is becoming a polling location in an effort to make it easier for people in the 32304 zip code to cast a ballot.

The Urban League sits in Frenchtown, one of the most impoverished communities in the entire state.

In an area where many people walk, the new location will add convenience to election day.

Anyone in Precinct 1301 will now vote at the Urban League.

This is just one part of more voting efforts in the neighborhood.

The Big Bend Voting Rights Projects says they're now trying to get about 1,400 new voters registered in this neighborhood.

"One of the parts of north Florida in need of voter registration because of a large number of voter aged adults not registered is right here in Frenchtown and Griffin Heights," said Bob Ratcliff with thr Big Bend Voting Rights Project.

"In the shadow of protesting, let's cast our vote," said Greg James, a Tallahassee pastor.

Stepping behind protests of the past and in memory of Congressman John Lewis, faith leaders are putting their boots to the ground and marching to polls.

"I believe today that if John Lewis could take the pain of a baton, we could take a pen to the ballot," James said.

Almost 37,000 ballots have been cast in Leon County so far, that's only 17 percent of the registered voters in the Capital county.

Souls to the Polls is hoping to drastically increase those numbers.

"It's not only about putting someone in the White House for the next four years, but it's also about putting someone in congress, our state legislature, our city commissioners, our county commissioners, our judges," said Curtis Taylor, the president of Tallahassee Urban League.

But the focus is also shifting to the Frenchtown and Griffin Heights neighborhoods, making it easier for the people living there to vote for their candidate of choice, adding the Tallahassee Urban League on Old Bainbridge Road as a polling location.

"Those individuals that are now living in precinct 1301 can now walk, let me say it again, walk to cast their ballots," Taylor said.

"The easier we make it to vote, the more convenient we make it to vote, the more people will vote," said Ratcliff.

As those neighbors anticipate a new polling location the Big Bend Voting Rights Project is looking forward to registering more voters.

Souls to the Polls will start at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church this Sunday at noon, ending the march at the Leon County Courthouse.

The Urban League polling location opens on August 18 for the primary election.