Honoring of the life and legacy of Congressman John Lewis, Terri Lipsey Scott and others have organized Voting is Our Voice, a city-wide initiative designed to remind St. Petersburg citizens that democracy, in Scott’s words, “is the one thing that we should always be able to hold true to. And having the opportunity for our voices to be heard cannot, and will not, be denied.”
Therefore, Scott – executive director of the Carter G. Woodson African American Museum – and her colleagues launched a social media campaign to encourage residents to request their mail-in ballots by Aug. 8. “Needless to say, we’re in a climate where we can’t ignore the importance – now more than ever – of our need to vote,” Scott enthuses.
That was just the run-up to the main event, taking place Saturday (Aug. 15) at 11 a.m., just prior to the Aug. 18 primary election. For “Roll to the Polls,” those who have yet to mail in their ballots are asked to meet at Al Lang Stadium, to take part in a ceremonial parade to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections’ office, on 1st Avenue N.
“Roll to the Polls” is a collaborative effort between the Woodson Museum, Women Talk Black and the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance Saint Petersburg.
“We want to be sure that the ballots are safely arriving at the Supervisor’s office,” Scott says. “We’re encouraging folks to vote by mail, but also to demonstrate that they have voted. This parade is not exclusively for those who are looking to take their ballots, because some of them will already have mailed their ballots. It’s a show of solidarity that we will not be denied.”
In other words, even if you’ve mailed your ballot, feel free to show up anyway and join the parade. More than 200 people have pre-registered, but Scott says you don’t really need to.
It is, Scott says, a demonstration of support.
“We’re encouraging people to decorate their cars. Decorate their bikes! Put on a shirt that says ‘I’m voting!’ or anything that suggests they’re a part of this democratic process, and be a part of a parade that’s exhibiting not only to our city, but to our nation, that we’re embracing the vision of John Lewis that voting matters. Our vote, our voice. Here we are.”
The office of Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Julie Marcus, 501 1st Avenue N., is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.