Cassandra Wilson has seen a pattern of low voter turnouts for elections in Coahoma County the past several years and decided to do something about it.
Wilson held a voter registration drive at the old Harvest Foods parking lot on DeSoto Avenue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, passing out forms for people to register.
Three individuals turned in the forms to Wilson and she plans to bring them to the Coahoma County Courthouse. Others took forms with them and are expected to turn them in during Wednesday’s voter registration drive at 315 Monroe Ave. in Clarksdale.
Wilson said she could pickup registration forms at homes, if necessary, and those who need more information may call her at 662-313-8528.
“Just paying attention to the elections for the past couple of years, I look at how many people we have that actually come out to vote versus what our population actually is of Clarksdale or Coahoma County as a whole,” Wilson said. “I was trying to figure out if people just aren’t registered to vote. So I’m trying to figure what’s the gap that kind of keeps people from coming out to do a little bit more voting.”
Wilson estimated 4,000 to 5,000 individuals vote in any given election when the population has been 12,000 to 15,000. She said a reasonable expectation would be to have 9,500 to 10,000 voters per election.
“I think a lot of people, they’re just familiar with the main elections where you vote for your mayor, where you vote for your President, but they’re unfamiliar with the other elections that go on prior to that,” Wilson said. “I feel a lot of people are just unaware of those.”
Wilson said many individuals, regardless of social or economic status, do not feel politics impact them.
“The main I think people have for not voting is the stigma of, ‘My vote does not count,’” Wilson said.
Wilson also said many young eligible voters do not engage in the process. She plans to reach out to the local high schools and Coahoma Community College in the fall.
Colleen Buyers from Shared Experiences USA saw the voter registration drive and volunteered her time to help Wilson out.
The general election is Nov. 3 and voters must register at least 30 days in advance.
Some voters saw the registration drive and used it as an opportunity to encourage others.
“I was just riding through trying to see what was going on and stopped,” said Clarksdale resident Regina Hackett. “My father is 81 and he has never voted, so I got some forms here to get him registered. My mom is an 81-year-old registered voter. I’m a registered voter, but my father’s not.”
Hackett said it does not matter which candidates her father supports. She just wants him to be a part of the process.
“It’s just time to vote,” she said. “It’s nothing special because he hasn’t voted in all these years, but I think it’s just time to vote.”
Javier McDonald, 18, a 2020 Clarksdale High School graduate has voted since becoming eligible, but he still used the registration drive to make sure he had everything in order.
“I didn’t register,” McDonald said. “I just came to help, but after I did it, I also did do an application in case I didn’t register fully. I know I did a preregister.”
McDonald plans to attend the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg with a criminal justice major and political science minor. He brought several peers to the registration drive to make sure they voted.
“It’s just a matter of getting involved,” McDonald said. “I’m not going to say my personal belief on any of the candidates, but your vote does count at the end of the day. If you do not get your vote in, you will not have a say-so in who is elected to be your President.
“My preference is Democrat, but everyone is not a Democrat. So just come on out and vote.”
Snacks and hand sanitizer were given out during the registration drive. Derrell Washington, District 3 representative of the Coahoma County Board of Supervisors, donated n59 masks for the event, the local Walmart and Roger Stolle also made donations.