My 18th birthday would be in October, two weeks before the general election. I was a freshman at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, 175 miles away, and planned to vote by absentee ballot. Before leaving Montgomery in mid-September for the fall quarter, I went to the county courthouse to register -- but I was denied on grounds that I wasn't yet 18.
Didn't seem right to me. Having grown up in the environment of state government and having served as a page in the state Senate, I knew the the Capitol like the palm of my hand. I called the office of the Attorney General of Alabama. Did my last name catch the attention of the secretary of Bill Baxley, only 31 years old himself at the time? A cousin of mine was State Auditor, and her office was just down the hall from his. Whatever the reason, my call was taken by an assistant AG whose name I cannot remember. He listened to my story and said he would call the county registrar to straighten them out. Later that day I returned and was allowed to register.
Baxley went on to earn national fame by successfully prosecuting the bomber of a Birmingham church back in 1963. He also wrote an acclaimed "kiss my ass" letter to a white supremacist. But in 1972, the office of the AG meted out a much smaller portion of justice by enabling me to cast my vote for George McGovern.