You may have seen the pictures of T.I. proudly displaying a sticker on his thumb Tuesday as proof that he cast an early ballot in this year’s presidential election.
According to a press release from his spokespeople, it was the first time the 28-year-old rapper (born Clifford Harris) had ever voted. Tip is the national spokesperson for the nonpartisan group Respect My Vote’s “Get Out the Vote” campaign.
“T.I. has been a very vocal and engaged activist in helping to get young people to register and, now, to get them to the polls to vote,” read a release from T.I.’s camp. “With his prior difficulties with the law, T.I. made it his point to emphasize that, while he thought he was ineligible to vote, others needed to get out to the polls to make a difference in their lives and their communities. Recently, he did further research on his own and discovered he was, in fact, still eligible to vote. Going to the polls early this morning in Atlanta, Georgia, was a transformative experience for him.”
How was T.I. able to vote? Well, the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, in consultation with their own lawyers and the Georgia Attorney General’s office, in consultation with their own lawyers and the Georgia Attorney General’s office, “reviewed the law and found that Mr. Harris is eligible to in Georgia because the state constitution says that to be able to vote, you have to have served your entire sentence, which includes all probation and fines and any other stipulations,” said Matt Carrothers, the Secretary of State’s director of media relations.
Because T.I. is not slated to go to prison until next year on felony gun charges and is not currently incarcerated — though he is under house arrest — and is not on probation, all he had to do was contact the county he votes in and get re-registered in order to cast a ballot.
“Feels like I’ve taken advantage of my right to become a part of the democracy,” T.I. said in the release. “It was definitely worth standing in line and doing all the things people complain about voting. I think it’s more than worth it.”
T.I. was arrested in October 2007 , mere hours before he was to headline the BET Hip-Hop Awards in Atlanta. The rapper was charged with possession of unregistered machine guns and silencers and possession of firearms by a convicted felon. He pleaded guilty to the charges in May as part of a plea deal.
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