The Heartland Workers Center seeks the vote through canvassing in Omaha

One way to encourage community voting is through canvassing in order to inform and raise awareness of
the importance of voting. This is what HWC is doing in South and North Omaha.

The HWC began canvassing once again in the community early September. This in order to increase
participation in these Omaha regions for the general election this November 6. These are joint efforts by
HWC and the community, according to organizer Sean Tjaden, “all the organizers take a lead in
canvassing and work with the community to get volunteers and paid positions.”
From Monday to Thursday from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.,
HWC’s organizers, paid canvassers and volunteers meet at the South Omaha offices to do canvassing. On
these meetings organizers give instructions, objectives of the day, designate groups, and provide food for
the participants.
Once the groups are assigned and places to visit are known, each group embarks on its journey with its
own transportation, an iPhone, and a portfolio. The cell phone is used for data collection, while the
portfolio contains information brochures. They also take forms to keep track of data needed by the HWC,
and early-voting-ballots’ applications.

Although the HWC has carried out these canvassing initiatives since 2012, the participation of the
community is always required. HWC’s organizer, Gabriela Pedroza shares that, “There is many people in
the areas we are visiting, and we need as many people to do it, many volunteers are needed.”
This type of initiative promotes the vote through the constancy and familiarization that is created over the
years. HWC’s organizers argue that often people already recognize their initiative and organization just by
seeing their green t-shirts. “I’ve noticed that now people are more open when knocking on doors, it’s more
interactive,” says Tjaden, who comments that over time, people start to ask more questions about voting,
and get involved in the political processes.

These visits also seek to educate people about the difference of each voting in progress, such as the
differences between primary, general and presidential elections, for example. It also seeks to clarify
important points and realities. “If you have a felony and it’s been two years since the process, you can
re-register”, is one of the many data that needs clarification says Pedroza.
The HWC plans to continue to knock on people’s doors who are registered or eligible to vote in their
records. In addition, it seeks to encourage and inform all the people in the community who is interested in
participating in these elections.

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