Local religious groups offer youth support, voting help

Local religious groups offer youth support, voting help
Updated: Jul. 29, 2018 at 7:16 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - North Huntsville residents fought for the future on Sunday.

The Fellowship of Faith Church held a dinner and backpack giveaway for its middle and high school parishioners.

Just outside the church, the multi-religious group Faith in Action hosted a table to register those young adults for the coming election and to educate valley residents on their voting rights.

Faith Church pastor Troy Garner said the event was about supporting the youth.

"Just being available, being available, being resourceful, let them know that we're here as a resource to encourage them, to support them and just being there for them. That means a whole lot to them," he said.

Garner honored local students for their success in and out of the classroom during a short prayer service.

The church gave away 50 backpacks with supplies at the dinner and Garner said 25 more will be handed out on Sunday.

Afterward, attendees got a chance to talk to Bobbie Ratliff and other Faith in Action volunteers about voting laws in Alabama.

Ratliff said more people need to register and utilize their voting rights.

"That will have a great effect on the voting pool, within the communities, every vote counts, and it's needed," Ratliff said.

Carolyn Hudson's son, Xavier, registered with Ratliff Sunday. Hudson said she talks to him about civic duties regularly and she's proud he'll be able to vote in November.

Ratliff also handed out pamphlets on the voting rights rights of former convicts

Alabama law strips convicts with "crimes of moral turpitude" of the right to vote.

Such crimes include kidnapping, assault and drug trafficking among others. You can find the full list here.

There is an appeals process through the local state probation and parole office or the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Once an application is submitted, there is a 45-day window for them to respond.

If the rights are restored, a former convict would still need to register to vote.

Ratliff said no former convicts stopped by the table, but the message still needed to get out.

"A lot of people were unaware of that, and I'm here to, if I encounter some of these people, to let them know they can get those rights back," he said.

Alabamans have until October 23 to be registered for the November 6 election.

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