In September, JCUA joined ONE Northside to register voters in Chicago. Read these reflections from some of our participants, and if you haven’t yet, GO VOTE!
I am so grateful to JCUA and for the opportunity to work with them and ONE Northside to help me fulfill my Mitzvah Project for Voter Registration. Even though I’m not old enough to vote, I believe it is vital that everyone who CAN, exercises their right. We are lucky to be living in the United States where we have the opportunity to make change through voting. If we want change in our country the best way to do so is through voting for our candidates.
I learned a lot by organizing the voter registration night in Uptown. I first organized a mini phone bank for the event and JCUA brought in others to help me achieve my goal. After a brief “how to” we set out at the Wilson and Lawrence El Stops and for two hours encouraged commuters to register to vote and spoke with them about their values and concerns this election. In total the group I organized registered 24 voters! Not only did we get people registered we also got them thinking about the election and made sure that everyone knew that voting matters.
– Carter, Temple Sholom Bar Mitzvah Student
“Last week I participated in JCUA’s event to register Chicago voters in time for November’s election. It was my first time out canvassing, and I was feeling nervous. ‘There must be a better way that I could add value to this election and to our Jewish community?’ I thought. Canvassing is challenging. I was assuming that the last thing people want to do after a long day of work is stop and talk to a complete stranger. I know I run into canvassers all the time, and I admit, I don’t stop.
My first 10 minutes out at the Wilson El stop, I was met with pretty much that response: people rushing by not listening to me or saying ‘No thanks’ without realizing I wasn’t trying to sell them something. I stayed strong though, you can’t take these things personally.
I was struggling with the script I was supposed to be using. It seemed lengthy and wasn’t rolling off my tongue like I felt it should. During the training they had instructed us to make it our own, so I decided to make some adjustments. Instead of trying to engage people in conversation right away, I moved to just asking a quick question: ‘Are you registered to vote?’ I thought this would work, but instead what I think people still heard was ‘Stop and talk to me about this election.’ No dice. We are inundated with election banter, and it can feel overwhelming to get into all the issues with a perfect stranger.
So I decided to get right to the point by saying: ‘I can register you to vote right here, right now!’ This worked so well! I actually had a woman turn around and come back to me, once she heard those words. She repeated back: ‘I can register now?’ ‘In about a minute,’ I replied. Done. Easy. I then captured the attention of another person, a man who had no internet, and didn’t have time to go downtown to register. He was registered in less than 2 minutes, and was so grateful that I had been there to help him with what seemed to him like a daunting task. We high-fived and hugged, and I then changed my spiel just one more time: ‘Register to vote here, and get your free hugs there!’ ..pointing towards my new friend. He had turned my skeptical self into a grateful participant, with more faith than ever in the human spirit.”
– Susie Linker, JCUA Member