NAACP, AARP help inmates register to vote

DeRon Talley
Members of the NAACP of this area pose for a photo after helping Ascension Parish inmates register to vote.

The NAACP and the AARP partnered together recently to help a number of Ascension Parish inmates who were not convicted felons register for the Nov. 6 election day. NAACP president for this area, Robyn Delaney, said that last year the two sides partnered together for this same reason, but this year it was a much easier process.

Delaney said the association's goal is to simply be part of the solution and not the problem in the communities, whether it is to help in education for children or voter participation in politics.

"The mission is not to just do education, we want to make sure we take care of the political side too," said Delaney, a native of Donaldsonville.

In last year's process, Delaney and her group helped more than 40 inmates register to vote. This year they almost tapped the 40-plus mark again registering 38.

"We can not tell citizens who to vote for, we just encourage them to exercise their right," Delaney said. "If you don't vote then your voice will not be heard."

She explained that the process to get the inmates registered was painless due to help from Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeffrey Wiley and his staff. Delaney also got help from the Registrar of Voter's office.

The Registrar of Voter's office explained and ensured all the information was accurate and made sure that everybody who applied to vote was able to get a ballot and be rightfully qualified to do so.

Delaney said, "They are still citizens of the United States and we just think it's fair that they have a right to vote."

When asked how does it feel to make a positive influence such as this in her community, Delaney said it feels good.

"I know that if the shoe was on the other foot, I would want somebody to step up and try to help me," said Delaney, wife of Donaldsonville City Councilman Lauthaught Delaney Sr. "It could be me or somebody in my family."

Delaney grew up in Donaldsonville and said she is proud to be able to help in her community and she considers Donaldsonville to be a "diamond in the rough" because of the great potential she sees in it.

Delaney said she feels it is her responsibility not to take voter participation lightly because "people bled and died for this."

She said, "It's like a moral obligation, a Christian duty."

She added: "I never thought I would be involved on this level, but I knew I would involved because I was always taught as a young child that you have to be involved in your community."