GENESEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) – With the election less than a week away, an underrepresented electorate is letting their voices be heard.
About 85 inmates at the Genesee County Jail voted by absentee ballot Thursday.
They came one by one to cast their ballot for Tuesday’s primary election.
Tia Gaines, an inmate at the Genesee County Jail was surprised to learn that she still had that right.
“I was totally surprised like what we can do that.” Gaines knew she wanted to be a part of the political process, even though she was behind bars. “Hells yeah sign me up. I want to do that,” she said.
Anyone in the jail for pre-trial services who has not been convicted is allowed to let their voices be heard at the ballot box.
“80 to 90% of the people that are in jail will return back to the community. There is a smaller percentage of people that will go to prison so you want to give people every tool and put every tool in their toolbox so they can be successful once they are back in the community,” said Percy Glover, a Genesee County Ambassador working with the Sheriff’s office.
“Voting is a key aspect of that (ensuring inmate success after incarceration).”
This is the eighth election that Glover has helped to organize and register voters who are behind bars. It’s an initiative not taken on by many jails.
“We are one of the few jails anywhere around the country who does this,” Glover said.
Gaines, and inmate herself, joined with Glover and others to help get other inmates registered to vote.
“I was one of the ones getting the girls together like come on your voice matters. Let’s rock this. We are about to do this,” Gaines said.
There is sense of pride she felt for participating in the process. After casting her ballot she flashed a bright smile for the ABC12 News camera’s.