With the November 4th election quickly approaching, Appleseed staff have been busy traveling across the state to encourage Nebraskans to vote.
We caught up with our organizer, Alex Gibilisco, to find out what is motivating Nebraskans to go to their polling place this fall, many of them for the first time.
Q. What sort of work has Appleseed been doing to encourage people to vote this fall?
Alex: We are working to contact minority voters from six communities across Nebraska: Columbus, Crete, Grand Island, Lexington, Scottsbluff and South Sioux City. We have contacted over 9,000 people in different ways. We are calling to give information about voting in this year’s election, how to vote by mail, how to vote early at the county elections office, and a reminder that it is important to vote.
In some of our communities, our community partners are knocking on hundreds of doors and talking to registered voters. We’re giving them information about the elections and collecting cards from voters on which they write down why they are pledging to vote. The information has motivated many people that were not originally planning to vote to go to the polls in these midterm elections.
We have also sent mailings to all registered minority voters in the six communities with whom we are working to provide important information about the voting process. We have provided information in both English and Spanish about voting by mail and voting early at the local Election Commissioner’s office.
We let them know: We elect the people who run our schools, manage our cities, and make decisions about education, jobs, and immigration. We will decide whether or not to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour. In this year’s election we will decide Nebraska’s governor, members of Congress, state senators, and more important decisions that impact us every day!
Elections affect your family, your community, and our nation. Be a voter for your family and future!
Q. What have been people’s reactions when you encourage them to vote?
Alex: People are very excited to take part in this year’s election once we talk to them a little bit. I talked to one man who didn’t know there was an election happening this year. He asked for more information and really wanted to know more about voting early, asking for the address to the Elections Commissioner’s office. When he learned that raising the minimum wage was on the ballot, he committed to vote the next day.
Our young volunteers in Grand Island have gotten many appreciations from people they have contacted. People are glad to be reminded about the elections and thankful to hear many young volunteers taking time to remind them about the elections.
Q. What are the popular reasons people have given on why they’re excited to vote this year?
Alex: In the phone banks and canvassing, we have found that the large majority of people are excited to vote because they have the opportunity to raise the minimum wage.
The voters we talk to when we phone bank or go door-to-door become more excited about voting when they find out that they will be able to vote to raise the minimum wage. They think this is very important in their community even if they themselves work jobs that pay more than minimum wage. It impacts many of their family members, friends, and neighbors.