Regardless of the scorching sun, several Gadsden County candidates and their supporters surrounded the corners of the Gadsden County Courthouse with signs and waves to encourage voters to vote during the nationally recognized, church-based political event, Souls to the Polls. Held in downtown square of Quincy, Florida, the event was a huge success with bouncers for children, food, music, prayer, speakers, and followed by Trunks of Treats, which helped create a family atmosphere and offered an alternative to Halloween for the children of Gadsden County.
Pastor Charles Morris of New Bethel AME Church in Quincy coordinated the event along with Elder Lee E. Plummer, presiding elder of the Quincy-Monticello District of A.M.E. Churches plus several members of United Gadsden, Inc., a ministry of social justice to empower every Gadsden County resident to have equal access and dignified participation in creating a greater quality of life for all citizens of the community. Pastor Morris says, “Social justice is the responsibility of pastors.” Elder Plummer agreed and stated, “I’m committed to be involved.”
A few Gadsden County candidates who attended Souls to Polls felt the same commitment to be involved as they mingled, shook hands, and some even passed out candy. Sheriff Morris Young, who has been in office for 12 years is running for re-election and says he’ll continue to run until God tells him to stop. His platform is schools to prison pipeline and states it’s his faith that drives him to serve his community, not politics. Reginald Cunningham, running for Property Appraiser, has a platform to inform and educate all of Gadsden County from the youth to the senior citizens on the property appraisal process. He believes this is the only way the property appraiser’s office can obtain the transparency and trust the community needs and desires. Pete Williams, campaigning for State Attorney, is a Republican yet has successfully crossed the political party line with his fight for equal justice for all. Gadsden County Commissioner, Brenda Holt, believes in educating voters and stated, “We choose the best for our people.”
Commissioner Holt had the honor of welcoming and introducing former president Bill Clinton to Quincy residents during his recent stop in Quincy, the only Florida County with a predominately African American population. Former President Clinton was on tour of the Florida states to encourage early voting. Sheriff Young also presented Former President Clinton with an award for Honorary Sheriff’s Deputy to give to his wife, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The award for Hillary Clinton was to acknowledge the “village” concept she believes in, which is used in Gadsden County to bring the community and churches together as does Souls to the Polls.
The voice of Gadsden County will be heard through votes – if registered voters get out and vote. Changes can be made in the county and a huge impact can be made in the national election if everyone exercises their right to vote. Pastor Morris said the mission of Souls to the Polls is three part: education, registration, and mobilization with a goal to get 500 voters to the polls to vote early. Gadsden County exceeded the goal with a total of 555 early voters on the hot Sunday afternoon as per the Gadsden County Supervisor of Elections website.