Fulfilling civic duty, RBC man, 99, votes

By Donna Thornton/News Editor

 J.T. Wallace is approaching his 100th birthday and continues to participate in a process many Americans take for granted.

Wallace recently cast his absentee ballot in the 2012 election, with the help of the Etowah County Circuit Clerk’s office.

This year Wallace will witness his 24th presidential election.

Wallace’s son, the Rev. James O. Wallace, said his father is interested in current events and takes his right to vote seriously, ever since he was old enough to vote.

For Wallace, that would have been when he turned 21, meaning this is likely to be his 19th election.

“He’s always been civic-minded about voting,” Rev. Wallace said. “That’s been a top priority in his life.”

J.T. Wallace was born in Piedmont, his son said, one of 15 children. “They lived through some tough times,” Rev. Wallace said.His father is retired from Goodyear and lives in Rainbow City, and he was a deacon in his church for more than 50 years.

“He and my mom had been married for 72 years,” Rev. Wallace said, when his mother passed away, adding that he didn’t think his father would last long without her after all those years together.

“He loves life. He’s got a real zest for living,” Rev. Wallace said.

“He still watches the news every day. At 5 o’clock, he’ll say ‘turn it to ABC-33/40,’” Wallace said. “He keeps his Bible by his chair and he reads it every day.”

Etowah Circuit Clerk Billy Yates said it’s not often that someone from his office will go to a voter’s home to complete the necessary paperwork and an absentee ballot as he and his wife did for J.T. Wallace.

“We’ve done it several times for an emergency or unusual circumstances,” Yates said, adding that given the workload in the clerk’s office, those times have to be rare.

Normally, people who are unable to come out to a polling place to vote will fill out an application and send it to the clerk’s office. Other voters who will be out of town, away in school, or working hours that prohibit them voting also sometimes cast absentee ballots, either by mail or buy coming in to the clerk’s office before an election.

“We were glad to be able to help Mr. Wallace cast his ballot,” Yates said.

 
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