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story.lead_photo.caption The Fulton NAACP will host a voter registration drive during the Fourth of July holiday in an effort to reach young voters and those who've never voted before. Volunteers will guide people through the registration process at Guiding Light Missionary Baptist Church in Fulton (1023 Westminster Ave.) from 1-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Photo by Olivia Garrett / Fulton Sun.

The Fulton NAACP will host a voter registration drive during the Fourth of July holiday.

Volunteers will guide people through the registration process at Guiding Light Missionary Baptist Church in Fulton (1023 Westminster Ave.) from 1-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Independence Day celebrates the nascent United States' declaration of independence from Great Britain — in part because Britain taxed its colonies without allowing them proper governmental representation. Fulton NAACP President Anna Braxton said exercising your right to vote is still a vital way of ensuring your views and priorities are represented in government.

"Your life depends on your voting," she said. "You vote, you have a voice. Everyone needs to have a voice in what goes on. People really need to think, 'I am in control of something.'"

She noted voting is especially important during times of deep political division, such as the present moment.

"This is one of the most important times to vote in our lifetime; it'll make a big different in the next four years," Braxton added. "Voting will affect everybody at every age. Life has changed tremendously with the COVID, and it'll keep changing. We have to have someone at the top who'll lead us and guide us in the right path."

Braxton said this drive is particularly targeted toward young voters and those who've never voted before.

"But we're targeting everybody who's not registered to vote," she said. "Anywhere we see people, we'll ask them if they're registered to vote. We're not shy this year. Young and old, white or black, doesn't matter what color — we want them to register."

Missouri voters may check their voter registration status at s1.sos.mo.gov/elections/voterlookup. The next election, a state and county primary, is Aug. 4. Hopeful voters must be 18 years old as of Aug. 4 in order to participate and must be registered by July 8. People unable to attend the drive may register online at s1.sos.mo.gov/elections/voterregistration; view other options at bit.ly/3ihAfso.

Those who have a driver's license should bring it with them to register.

"We'll be using social distancing guidelines and asking people to please use their face masks," added Sherry McBride, NAACP member and the event's organizer.

She said the group hopes to host another registration drive in the fall.

The registration deadline for the Nov. 3 general election is Oct. 7.

"We're looking forward to having a grand time up there," she said.

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