The national president and CEO of the NAACP was in Columbus Saturday to kickoff a five-city bus tour to encourage voting in Tuesday's election. "Our country has been waiting for this for a long time, 232 years for a multi-gender, multi-racial election," Benjamin Todd Jealous said. "If you have to wait in line, wait in line. That is our message to voters."
Jealous, who took over duties at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in September, also took the message to Talbotton, Macon, Butler and Atlanta.
He called on city and county officials to print more ballots and keep polls open longer if needed.
The NAACP president said he was in Atlanta Friday to talk to a Clayton County woman, the last person to vote after standing in line from 6 p.m. to almost 11:30 p.m.
Never miss a local story.
"The surge in voter registration that we are seeing, the surge in participation that is forecast means that we could see a rise like that throughout Georgia and throughout the country," Jealous said.
When the bus tour was planned, Jealous said the trip was aimed at making sure that votes in South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi were counted.
"People need to know that if you are in line at 7 p.m., they have to count your vote," Jealous said. "They have to stay there until you have voted."
Edward DuBose, a Columbus resident and president of the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, accompanied Jealous on the bus tour.
Jealous said the NAACP has more than 7,000 lawyers to answer questions about voting problems. Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.