BY BOBBY HARRISON
Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON - Secretary of State Eric Clark is hoping to honor Mississippi veterans who have helped to preserve the right to vote and at the same time encourage more people to vote.
Flanked by veterans from groups throughout the state, Clark on Monday announced the "Vote in honor of a veteran'' initiative for the Nov. 4 general election.
"We're privileged to live in a free country because of the sacrifices made by our service men and women,'' Clark said at the news conference on a breezy, sunny day at the Mississippi Veterans Monument outside the Woolfolk state office building. "We have a responsibility to be involved in our government that they fought - and are fighting - to protect.''
Through the initiative, people are encouraged to obtain a sticker and write in the name of a veteran to be honored on election day.
The stickers will be available in circuit clerks' offices, and at various locations of veterans groups, such as state chapters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Clark said his office will place the stickers in as many locations as possible, especially at voting precincts.
Clark said a system has not been developed yet to establish a permanent record of the veterans honored on election day. But people can submit a written tribute to veterans and that tribute will be forwarded to the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Clark said he also intends to make the initiative part of the "Promote the Vote'' effort in which schools hold mock elections to get students interested in the political process.
"Our young people need to hear about the sacrifices our veterans made to protect our democracy,'' said Clark, who as secretary of state oversees state elections. "Learning about our veterans is an essential part of what it means to be an American citizen.''
Jack Vance of Jackson with the Mississippi Council of Veterans Organizations said he hopes the initiative encourages more people to vote.
"For some time it has been a great concern for me personally that so few of our people are turning out to vote,'' Vance said.
"I know for a fact some very respectable people are not registered to vote.''