Sue Tullier and her daughter Austin had almost run out of pocket-sized U.S. Constitutions by mid-afternoon on Election Day. They’d been standing outside of Gaines School Elementary for hours, distributing tiny booklets bought with their own money.
“We are passing out Constitutions to keep people informed as to how their government operates,” said Austin Tullier. The women hope people will study up before they reach the booth.
“We figured – especially when the lines were longer – voters could peruse it as they waited in line since the battery isn’t going to run out in an hour and a half on a book.”
“So far we’ve given out 525,” says Sue Tullier, “We’ve had several people thank us and make comments such as ‘Good document. Good thing to have.’”
The mother and daughter are part of a bigger project — handing out 100 million copies of the Constitution nationwide — sponsored by non-profit freedomfactor.org.
According to the website the mission of this organization is to “educate millions of Americans on the basics of American government.” They want to promote the fundamentals so that “more knowledgeable citizens will build a better country.”
The organization sells pocket Constitutions cheaply and in bulk, and buyers can use them however they want.
“Our constitution is written very simply. Our forefathers spent a lot of time picking out which words they wanted to use,” said Stephanie Halmo, a UGA graduate student waiting in line to vote. She remembers studying the Constitution during in her AP Government course in high school.
“I think it’s true to say that a lot of citizens, a lot of natural born citizens, don’t know the Constitution nor understand the purpose of it,” said Michelle Ziadie, also a graduate student at UGA.
This is why Sue Tullier is so passionate about giving away free copies. “People don’t know the Constitution. They don’t know what the president or the justices are and are not allowed to do. Laws are made by congress. Not the president nor the Supreme Court,” Sue said. “So often they interpret law or enforce laws incorrectly that are against the Constitution when they have neither the power nor authority to do so.”
“I bet there are a lot of naturalized citizens who understand the Constitution much better than a lot of American born citizens do,” Ziadie said. Because, after all, they had to study the document to become citizens.
“In order to be a better informed voting community I think we do need to have a better understanding of the constitution,” she said.