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Peaceful protest in Guntersville aimed towards voter registration

WAAY 31 learned the numbers for those registered to vote in Marshall County is low.

Posted: Jun 13, 2020 10:10 PM
Updated: Jun 15, 2020 7:46 AM

Guntersville police say several hundred people came to a peaceful protest in Guntersville on Saturday to come together in unity in light of George Floyd's death.

There was a "lay-in," voter registration booth and a march around downtown.

This comes as some people in Marshall County want more action beyond marching and prepare to put their feelings behind their vote in upcoming elections.

WAAY 31 spoke with protesters about the important message those involved want you to know.

As people sat and laid here with their hands behind their backs, reciting George Floyd's last words, there was also a push to get people to know their constitutional rights, like being able to vote.

One of the lead organizers of the protest says she hopes people will continue to show up in large numbers when the time comes to cast their ballot.

"We need these people in Marshall County to recognize that our vote counts so that other officers can be held accountable, because they are wreaking havoc on those communities," said Julie Roden.

Roden was one of the lead organizers of the protest on Saturday. She says she was happy to see so many people come out and support a cause that should matter to everyone, voting and ending police brutality.

Several people told WAAY 31 in light of recent events, they've seen a major shift in different states on police reform and say it's because of a bigger change in local government.

"We don't get leadership from Montgomery or from D.C. It comes from the bottom. It comes from local people taking care of their community and their neighborhoods," said Rick Neighbors.

Neighbors is a nominee for United States Congress but spoke to us as a citizen Saturday evening. He told us it's unfortunate to know so many people in Marshall County are not registered to vote.

That's why this protest was also geared towards getting people registered and emphasized the importance of voting in every election.

"Right here in Marshall County, there's 23,000 who are eligible to vote, but they're not even registered," he said.

Roden says even though she doesn't share the same experiences as people of color, she stands with those who are struggling with racial injustices and hopes change will happen soon.

"We just want to be seen and have our problems understood by people who don't have to go through them," she said.

Organizers say several people registered to vote and they hope more will continue to register.

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