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A Day of Canvassing

By: Allison Foley (Reporter ‘21)

It seems like months ago that the entirety of the United States was waiting anxiously to learn the identity of our 46th president. This election was especially unique. In the past eight months, the United States has been faced with the challenge of COVID-19, and people all over the country have been speaking up about and fighting against racial and social injustices. As a result of these things and many others, this year people showed up (and mailed-in) in record numbers to cast their ballots.

Before Election Day, my mom and I wanted to do something to make sure people were voting if they could. As residents of Pennsylvania, we knew that our state was going to play a large role in the outcome of the election - which ultimately, it did! Through the Pennsylvania Democrats, my mom and I signed up to canvas.

Canvassing is a form of political campaigning to encourage every eligible voter to make a plan to vote, if they haven’t already. Our job was to knock on the doors of people, to whom we were assigned, and ask them a few questions about their voting plans. The doors that we knocked on primarily belonged to people who had not communicated with Pennsylvania Democrats, and this was a last check to see if they had a plan to vote.

I was pretty nervous to knock on strangers’ doors, and I knew that a lot of them wouldn’t appreciate our presence. But I knew that even though this may have been a bother to some, it had the potential to actually help a few people learn things like the location of their voting place or the deadline for sending their mail-in ballots. Before the first house, my mom and I prepared ourselves for some possibly hostile responses, but we were okay with that.

Armed with our list of houses in Berwyn, PA, we embarked on our canvassing process. We used an app to record how a person would be voting or if they had already voted. We were also ready with information if they had any questions or concerns. We made sure to take six steps back from the door and stay masked so that we could be as safe as possible. I was pleasantly surprised to hear a lot of people speak really passionately about the election, and although we only had short conversations with people, it was interesting to hear how they felt about all that was happening.

Now that the election is over, I’m really happy that my mom and I decided to do this. It may seem insignificant, but it was one way that I could contribute. I am especially grateful that I was able to canvas in Pennsylvania, given that it ended up being such a crucial state in the election’s outcome. Listening to the opinions and feelings of strangers as we went to each house was refreshing and interesting. I hope that when I get the chance, I’ll be able to canvas again.

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