Voter registration canvassers are valuable assets

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GRAPHIC BY KAYLA PAYNE / THE FLAT HAT

Midterm season is upon us, and everything feels chaotic. Not only are academic commitments getting more and more intense, but America as a country seems to be falling apart. More than ever, it is important to vote and make our voices heard in the upcoming midterm elections. That is why I am deeply appreciative of all of the volunteers pushing for voter registration. Many people feel that they are annoying and not very effective, but I would disagree. I think that the volunteers asking everyone, “Are you registered to vote in Williamsburg?” are doing hard, uncomfortable work that has a large payoff.

I personally am registered to vote in my hometown, and vote absentee. Even though I choose not to be registered to vote in Williamsburg and thus may seem outside of the target for these volunteers, they still serve as an important reminder. Last year, constantly seeing people push for voter registration was a reminder for me to register online for my hometown, as I had just turned 18. This year, I was reminded to request my absentee ballot before the deadline, which is incredibly important, and an easy-to-miss deadline. Now that I have sent my absentee ballot in, I will be smiling and saying I’ve already voted in response to the ubiquitous question, “Are you registered to vote in Williamsburg?”

I do understand that many people don’t enjoy social interaction and feel annoyed by the constant reminders to register to vote. Often, people are already registered in Williamsburg or are planning to vote absentee.

Thus, the constant question that seems to follow one everywhere regarding their registration status is viewed merely as a hassle and an annoyance. It is easy to get annoyed when something that interrupts your life feels as though it isn’t personally beneficial.

However, I think it is important to keep an open-minded view. Our demographic of voters is incredibly important, and the people who are putting themselves out there are doing such important work for relatively little thanks. Even if you don’t necessarily need the help or reminder to register, some people do, and the volunteers who are working hard and putting themselves consistently in awkward scenarios are deserving of our appreciation. Although you may already be registered to vote, many of your fellow peers, who probably share political views with you, might not be, and this makes voter registration relevant to you as well.

To use an economic term, more college students being registered to vote and actually voting has a positive externality on you, even if you are on top of everything and registered to vote already.

Finally, it is important to remember that the voter registration volunteers are people too; they are your peers. Even if you still disagree with everything I’ve said in this article, complaining and trash talking the volunteers isn’t a very nice way to treat people who are trying their best to do something that they care deeply about.

Email Anna Boustany at aeboustany@email.wm.edu.