Woman Spent 10 Hours Driving Voters To Alabama Polls (Photo) - Opposing Views

Woman Spent 10 Hours Driving Voters To Alabama Polls (Photo)

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"Everyone's got a purpose and God made me a person who goes out and serves the public and serves the community."

That's what 59-year-old Perman Hardy said, referring to her efforts to get out the vote that helped elect a Democrat in the staunchly Republican state of Alabama, reports AL.com. 

In a Dec. 12 special election to fill a vacant Alabama seat in the U.S. Senate, Doug Jones narrowly defeated Roy Moore, who has been dogged by accusations of sexually harassing teenage girls.  

Hardy, who grew up picking cotton and now works as a nurse, devotes her free time to helping eligible voters make it to the polls for every election. It's something she has been doing for the past quarter-century.

"That's my goal is to make sure everyone votes," she said. "That's always been my goal. This is what I do every election." 

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Speaking on the day of the Jones-Moore election, she said: "We're in an epidemic poverty county so it's so important for us to vote today. I took some people today who've never cast a ballot before."

Hardy spent more than 10 hours driving registered voters to polling stations who were unable to get there, either due to lack of transportation or some other reason. 

Of the 50 people she took to the polls, most of them were black supporters of Jones, which contributed to his win in Lowndes County, where 3,779 people voted for Jones and just 988 voted for Republican Moore.

"I feel it's important because of Roy Moore. I don't like his policies; I don't like the things he be talking about," said Almedia Rush, who was escorted by Hardy from her mobile home to cast her vote. "I always vote. One vote makes a whole lot of difference."

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A pecan picker was able to vote when Hardy picked him up from the orchard where he works, took him to his polling station, then dropped him back off at work after he voted. 

Susan Mae Holcombe felt that she was not dressed well enough to go vote, but Hardy convinced her to set her pride aside and convinced the 79-year-old Jones supporter to cast her ballot at the local polling station, which is a church with a single voting machine.

"This is such a crucial moment. It's so crucial. You've got to vote," Hardy told Holcombe. "It will only take a couple of minutes," she argued, "you'll be back in the house in 10 minutes."

Holcombe later said she was glad Hardy talked her into voting. "It's a blessing," Holcombe said. "I want Doug Jones to win so the kids can go to school and have something for themselves."

Hardy also helps sign up local students enrolled at out-of-state colleges to vote absentee, using a portable scanner plugged into her SUV's cigarette lighter socket. She uses it to scan their driver's licenses and Social Security cards, which she submits on their behalf.

She also drives to farms around the county to sign up absentee voters in the fields where they work. 

In between stops, she's usually on her old cell phone, drumming up votes. "Do whatever you want the rest of the day but I need you at the poll today," she told one reluctant voter over the phone.

"If you can't reach down and pick somebody up, just don't do anything at all. But don't ask me how I do it, don't ask me how. It's just what I do," she told AL.com. 

A GoFundMe account has since been set up for Hardy to buy her a new cell phone and computer tablet, the Daily Mail reports. The page has raised $8,000 so far.

Sources: AL.com, Daily Mail / Featured Image: Pixabay / Embedded Images: Connor Sheets/AL.comGoogle Images via Wikimedia Commons

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