MARIETTA – Ruby S. Bridges has been slowed by two strokes, but nothing was going to stop the 95-year-old from casting her ballot in the presidential election.
“I still want to vote,” she said Sunday before filling out her mail-in ballot at the Golden LivingCenter nursing home near Kennestone hospital.
Bridges can’t remember the first time she voted but says she’s voted in every election she’s been eligible for. Since Georgians still had to be 21 to vote at the time, that would mean Bridges first voted in the 1940 election, in which Franklin Roosevelt won a third term by defeating Wendell Willkie.
“She and my dad taught us to vote,” her daughter, Susan Roach said. “We have always voted.”
As of Friday, 11,000 mail ballots had been requested in Cobb County, said Janine Eveler, the county’s elections director. Mail-in voting starts 45 days before the election, and the ballots must be turned in by Nov. 6, except for overseas or military ballots, which have to be postmarked by Election Day and in within three days after the election.
“We assist all voters, but if somebody has a question, and they don’t want to come in at early voting or the polls, we’ll offer them the mail-in ballot,” Eveler said.
But for seniors who can still make it to the polls, the county offers assistance. Eveler said state law requires that anyone who is 75 or older or is disabled can go to the front of the line between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. during advanced in-person voting, which starts today, or on Election Day.
Eveler said poll workers don’t require voters to tell them what their disability is, nor do they require them to show identification proving their age.
“We’re pretty lenient on that,” she said. “If somebody looks like they just need help, we’re going to let them come to the front of the line.”
Bridges, who grew up in Dallas, and lived on Garrison Road in Marietta for over 50 years, said she hasn’t always voted Republican, but she cast her ballot for Mitt Romney this time.
“She thinks he’ll get us back on the right track,” said Roach, a Kennesaw resident.
With women not eligible to vote until the 19th Amendment passed in 1920, Roach is proud that her family now has three generations of women voters, along with her 31-year-old daughter, Wendy Roach.
While Bridges wasn’t yet able to vote as a teenager, her daughter said she is now a bit of a “recycled teen.”
“She still has a good sense of humor and enjoys life,” Susan Roach said.
Early and advance voting will be available at the following locations:
- Weekdays from today through Nov. 2, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the main Elections office, located at 736 Whitlock Ave. in Marietta.
- Oct. 25 and 26, between 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., at the Cobb County Civic Center, 548 S. Marietta Pkwy, Marietta, 30060.
- Saturday Oct. 27, from 9 a.m. to 4 a.m., at the main Elections office and the Cobb County Civic Center.
- From Oct. 29 to Nov. 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Cobb County Civic Center; East Cobb Government Service Center, 4400 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta; Noonday Baptist Church Sanctuary, 4121 Canton Road, Marietta; Smyrna Community Center, 200 Village Green Circle, Smyrna; NorthStar Church, 3413 Blue Springs Road NW, Kennesaw; Ward Recreation Center, Lost Mountain. Park, 4845 Dallas Highway, Powder Springs; South Cobb Community Center, 620 Lions Club Drive, Mableton; and at the South Cobb Recreation Center, 875 Six Flags Drive, Austell.
- On Election Day, 153 polling places will be open in Cobb from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. To find polling locations, visit the Secretary of State’s My Voter page at mvp.sos.ga.us.