Voter registration tent

Jerrell Anderson, left, and Stephen Reynolds, beside him, speak with Colquitt County Commissioner Barbara Jelks, right, during Saturday's Community Census Rally. Jelks is a member of the Colquitt County Census Committee and was helping to work the committee's tent at the event. Anderson and Reynolds had set up a tent beside it to register local people to vote.

MOULTRIE, Ga. -- Greater Believers Worship Center, 824 Northside Drive, sponsored a celebration Saturday to emphasize two aspects of civic duty.

The festival was billed as a Community Census Rally, and the Colquitt County Census Committee had multiple tents set up where volunteers could help residents fill out their Census forms online. The county's current response rate is just under 50 percent, and the committee hoped to drive that number much higher.

The U.S. government holds a census every 10 years, and uses that information to determine how many members of the House of Representatives each state has. That also determines the number of votes the state gets in the Electoral College that determines the president.

States, counties and cities use Census information to draw districts for state and local elected posts too.

On top of that, many federal and state programs distribute their grants in accordance with population. Colquitt County Census Committee Chairman Justin Cox said each person who is counted is worth $23,000 to the local area.

Two local men "piggybacked" on the census rally to add another element. Stephen Reynolds and Jerrell Anderson set up a table to help people register to vote.

The event started at 11 a.m. and before 12:30 p.m. they'd already had 11 people register to vote, Anderson said.

"There was one guy, born in 1943, who had never voted, never registered," he said. The man was one of the 11 who registered in the first part of the event.

In addition to the Census and voter registration tents, church Pastor Benji Nobles was giving away barbecue, and others were set up to give away clothing and school supplies.

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