• Voter registration, up close

    We tagged along with neighborhood teams in Gary, Indiana, and Lansing, Michigan last weekend to get an up-close look at the national voter registration drive.

    On Saturday morning, Team Gary started out by forming teams of two and going door to door. Charity and Gloria—both brand new to canvassing—took Turf 7 and got to know each other as they walked the neighborhood.

    When the duo registered their first voter, Tiara, she shared what it was like to register right then and there:

    “It feels great because I get to vote for my President. It was easy, it was very easy—I filled out the county I live in, I filled out my name, address, state, my previous address, birthday, phone number, last four digits of my social ... and sign and date. And now I’m registered!”

    Another part of the Gary crew headed for the County Market grocery store to set up their registration table. Volunteer Carolyn got right down to business.

    “I just stopped here on a whim—I just thought we should see if we can get some people registered, because it’s really busy here.”

    Danielle took a second to register on her way out of the store—her address had changed since the last election:

    “It was nice and easy—it’s a convenient location, it was a simple form, and I had help when I needed it. It’s something we cannot take for granted … and it’s my responsibility.”

    Lansing MI, Voter Registration Day of Action, 04/28/12Meanwhile, in Michigan, Team South Lansing fanned out across their turf, setting up tables in high-traffic areas. Christine and Roberta set up shop in front of a small convenience store, and while Christine guided a young, first-time voter through the registration forms, Roberta talked about why it matters to register young people:

    “I’m not a very political person, but I think it’s important for everyone to vote, to be represented. Especially in this area, we have schools that are closing or merging—some high schools that have been here longer than I’ve been alive. Education affects so many people. That’s why we’ve got to raise our voice.”

    Down the road, next to her registration table in a shopping mall parking lot, Juana talked about what keeps her volunteering, even with a sprained ankle:

    “There’s a lot of young people around here that haven’t registered to vote yet, and we’re going to get them registered.”

    Later in the afternoon, the team headed back to the Lansing office to meet with the field organizer, LaShawn, volunteer Kara, and a few other volunteers to talk about how the day went, tally all the voters they spoke to, and start planning for the next day.

    Reach out and help register voters where you live—find a volunteer event coming up near you.

    MI Volunteers