US election: 99-year-old votes, recalls when non-whites weren't allowed

US election: 99-year-old votes, recalls when non-whites weren't allowed

- Robert H Smith of Mississippi - a 99-year-old man who once served in the US army - has voted in the American election

- Born at a time when voting for black people was forbidden, the man said that he had to wait for around 20 minutes to cast his ballot in October

- Armed to protect himself against the current coronavirus outbreak, Robert went to the polling centre with his facemask on

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A 99-year-old man, Dr Robert H Smith of Mississippi (who was born at a time when blacks could not vote), has exercised his electoral right in the ongoing US presidential election.

ABC News reports that the nonagenarian wore a face mask to the polling that had “I voted” sticker on its side.

During his interview with the media, Robert said he remembered the time that he could not cast his vote. It should, however, be noted that the right to vote for blacks in America was legalised in 1870 in the 15th Amendment.

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Despite that amendment, the Voting Rights Act was only signed many decades later in 1965 by President Lyndon B Johnson.

Robert once served in the US Army after high school.
Photo source: ABC News

Robert once served in the US Army after high school. Photo source: ABC News
Source: UGC

Robert, who lives in Hinds County, said that he waited for around 20 minutes with his son before he could submit his vote in-person in October. Since he voted, he has been informing people of the need to get to the polling centre and do the same thing.

He said:

"Voting is an experience that every American citizen should have. We the people decide who's going to be our leader.”

Despite the chequered life he has lived in the US, Robert was the first in his family to get a PhD. When he finished high school, he served in the US Army during World War II.

The man and his wife, Grayce, have three children whose names are Robert Jr, Rodney and Rhonda. The last of the three became a nurse like their mother.

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Robert wore his facemask to the polling centre as a safety measure.
Photo source: ABC News

Robert wore his facemask to the polling centre as a safety measure. Photo source: ABC News
Source: UGC

In speaking about how the country’s political state, he said:

"I just hope that things get better politically. I don't think we have to have the situation that we have today.”

Meanwhile, Briefly.co.za earlier reported that a 102-year-old American woman, Ora Smith, who was born in 1918, also went out to exercise her electoral right as she voted in South Carolina.

The woman was born at a time when a great influenza pandemic attacked the US and wiped out over 675,000 people. Without fear of the current coronavirus situation, a second such outbreak in her lifetime, the woman went out and cast her vote.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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