As early voting begins, evacuees from New Orleans are determined to have a say:

For Elaine Stovall, getting on a bus for the two-hour trip back to Louisiana to vote for the future of New Orleans was just something she had to do.

"I would have walked to New Orleans if I had to. I would be less than a good citizen if I wasn't out here doing this," said Stovall, 62, a Hurricane Katrina evacuee staying in Houston who traveled 140 miles Monday to vote for the next mayor of New Orleans.

Despite everything these people have been through, and despite the federal government's failure to accommodate displaced voters (as they did for Iraqis here in the U.S. to vote in an election 6000 miles away), the people of New Orleans still want their voices to be heard. It makes me ashamed of the pathetic 18% to 20% turnout for local elections in my neck of the woods.

By the way, bus transportation for displaced voters isn't being provided by FEMA. It is organized and sponsored by ACORN.

(Read more about the voting situation at Reconstruction Watch.)