Registering Voters at Portland’s Festival of Nations
Jackie Kung and her family went to the Festival of Nations on Saturday, July 27th to register voters. They invited Kheyro, their Somali-American friend who lives in Maine, to come along. (Kheyro, pictured above, had such a good time that she wants to set up regular voter registration at her Somali-American mosque in Lewiston. )
Jackie’s report back:
– Rate of registration: More than 2 voters/hr!
– Staffing: 4 people at a time is sufficient. However, it’s a very long festival, 11-8. Even though there are fewer festival-goers later, we were still registering at the same rate until we just got too tired at 5 pm, so I think the whole time of the festival should be covered. You could cap the canvassers to 4 per shift and set up shifts like they do in California.
– Other canvassers: There were other canvassers there for other progressive issues. We registered 2 of these canvassers to vote.
– Reception: Not off-limits to white people. (Woke white people, at least!) Mason is white, but most of the festival-goers are white (it’s Maine). He still registered 8 people, all white Democrats. Mason approached two Indian immigrants and couldn’t register them because they aren’t citizens yet. They came back later and thanked him profusely for what he was doing.
– Next year: I would love to lead this canvass next year if that’s okay with everyone. Registering immigrants is my jam.
Thanks to everyone for the awesome tips and support!
Jackie Kung is an endocrinologist and a long time Swing Left volunteer.