Geraldine Smith died May 20 at age 75. Anytown residents will remember her as “The Voting Lady.” Gerry spent most of her free time advocating for voters’ rights, from ease of registration to access to the polls.
Gerry was born April 14, 1947 in Atlanta, Georgia, and lived her entire life there, attending Emory University, where she earned her nursing degree. She worked in emergency, obstetrics, and geriatrics departments before retiring.
While she was a skilled and dedicated health care worker, Gerry was also passionate about ensuring that all voices are represented in elections and other decision-making venues, from local to national. She was a longtime member of the League of Women Voters, heading up the local chapter several times over the years. She organized panels on voting rights and other issues.
But what Gerry dedicated most of her efforts to, along with registering eligible voters, was advocating for equal access to the polls. She fought the closure of polling places in marginalized communities, and even as her health waned, she was on the front lines pushing back against gerrymandering that would disproportionately impact communities of color. Gerry was part of a group that succeeded in lobbying county officials to keep polls open later in working class neighborhoods. When she heard of long lines at the polls, she’d show up with water and encouragement.
Gerry’s friends were her family. In lieu of a memorial service, mourners will gather on Election Day and help transport voters to polling places. Please consider volunteering for or donating to one of the voters’ rights organizations that Gerry so passionately supported.
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