In the past two years, RCWMS has increasingly included citizen engagement as a vital part of fulfilling our mission to empower women’s voices. This fall for the first time, we’ve gotten involved with voter registration and outreach as one way to weave feminism and spirituality into a vision of justice for the world. For many of us, it has felt like a spiritual practice to engage with other volunteers and voters from all walks of life and put our democratic values into practice.
On September 19, the RCWMS office filled with volunteers eager to learn how to register and educate voters. Caitlin Metzguer from You Can Vote presented on how to help new voters fill out the registration form then moved on to talking points about the six proposed amendments to the NC constitution on the ballot.
At RCWMS, we join You Can Vote, Democracy NC, and many other non-partisan advocacy organizations in being concerned about the vague language and intentions behind the amendments. The amendments either address issues that are already covered in NC statutes, and therefore seem at best unnecessary (at worst harmful) or appear to be blatant power grabs by the NC legislature.
In particular, RCWMS strongly opposes the amendment that would require voters to present photo IDs at the polls, risking disenfranchising thousands of voters (the legislature passed a similar statute in 2013, which required IDs for two election cycles but was eventually struck down by the NC courts; an amendment would enshrine this form of voter suppression into our constitution). We urge voters to vote against all six amendments.
On September 25, we partnered with National Voter Registration Day and You Can Vote to send newly-trained volunteers, including staff member Rebecca Welper and her two-year-old, to Durham Tech Community College for a festive voter registration event complete with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Executive Director Jeanette Stokes has been taking voter registration forms wherever she goes and asking everyone she runs into if they’re registered to vote. On September 29 she attended a Duke student meeting with former intern Eliza Paradise and registered a number of student voters.
Now that the deadline to register has passed, we’re turning our attention to getting out the vote. We’d love for you to join us on Monday, November 5 for a Get Out the Vote call party. It’s fine if you’ve never made voter calls before! We’ll do a quick training and get you on the phones with a script to encourage voters to turn out for this very important election. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to come.
And make sure you vote on November 6! Or better yet, vote early. Early voting is open in North Carolina through Nov. 3, including “one-stop” registration, if you missed the registration deadline. Check your local county board of elections for early voting times and locations.