About 100 volunteers canvassed a central Fresno community Saturday morning, offering voter registration information and urging residents to take part in the upcoming election.
Six local organizations came together for the Walk the Vote event in the neighborhood near Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries in central Fresno, handing out fliers and talking with residents about issues on the ballot.
Organizers say the work is bipartisan, using trained volunteers with the goal of knocking on 4,000 doors in the community. Participating agencies were FIRM, Faith in the Valley, Mi Familia Vota, Communities for a New California Education Fund, Fresno Teachers Association and the Fresno, Madera, Tulare and Kings Central Labor Council.
Volunteer and plumber JonHenry Lopez said although he knocked on many doors, one household stood out because of the residents’ misconceptions about voting.
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Lopez said one man in the home was a felon and wasn’t aware he could now re-register to vote, Lopez said. Another man assumed since he didn’t vote in the primary election that he couldn’t vote in the general election, either.
“They were so thankful to get this new information and understand that they are eligible to vote,” Lopez said.
South Fresno votes at an atrocious rate.
Dilon Savory, political director for the Fresno, Madera, Tulare and Kings Central Labor Council
The event targeted residents south of Shaw Avenue for a reason, according to Dillon Savory, the labor council’s political director. “South Fresno votes at an atrocious rate,” he said.
Savory said many people find the process of voting to be intimidating. “Our campaign is targeting people that almost never vote, that vote really inconsistently or just have gaps in their voting history.”
In conjunction with the door-knocking, Walk the Vote hosted a festival Saturday afternoon at FIRM with several of the organizations on hand, including Mi Familia Vota, which had citizenship resources available. Volunteers returning from their canvassing, as well as the public, enjoyed free food and a bounce house.
Although the number of people registered during the event wasn’t immediately available, Savory said he believes volunteers were able to reach 800 to 1,000.
“It’s really about giving people the tools to talk about politics (and) getting them to think about how they can change their own community,” he said.