2012 VOTE Recap

Micah Lott, Jenea Mandan, Steven Carpenter and Rauni Spute canvass door-to-door.(WyoFile)

Volunteers make election work a success

Dedicated voter advocates knock more than 3,800 doors

When it comes to voter education and get out the vote work, everyone involved knows there’s a major deadline: Election Day. The ESPC this year made a big effort in three communities on the Wind River Reservation and in Casper, Cheyenne, Rawlins, Rock Springs, and Torrington. This is our VOTE work: Voter Organizing, Training and Empowerment. We could not have done it without the dedicated volunteers who gave us their time and energy to convince their neighbors to raise their voices by voting. Our leadership council, RezAction, joined other tribal allies to form RezVote, a major effort to canvass the sprawling reservation prior to the General Election, and then get voters to the polls on Election Day. Volunteers wearing Native Vote tee shirts handed out flyers at many places including at the UW basketball game against Fort Lewis College staged at the Wyoming Indian High School gym in Ethete on Halloween night.

Jacqueline Bowlus canvasses in Rawlins Nov. 3.

Volunteers for our leadership councils in Torrington and Rock Springs (CORAJE and TRIBE) also worked hard to canvass their communities and get neighbors to raise their voices by voting. On the reservation, our volunteers handed out a thousand tee-shirts were handed out to community voters, including volunteer van drivers who knocked on doors offering rides to the polls on election days. The RezVote group found 11 cooks to prepare feasts for voters on Election Day Fort Washakie, Ethete, and Arapahoe. RezVote coordinator Jolene Catron recently talked about the effort on Facebook. “A HUGE thank you to our cooks who worked long, grueling hours to keep voters fed … Making fry bread all day long is one of the hardest jobs I know of.

RezVote Feast cook Rachel Yinastrosa, Fort Washakie. (Lindsay D’Addato/WyoFile)

“This effort would not have been possible without good people in the community stepping up and volunteering their time and expertise. Funding for the big reservation effort came from the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho business councils, as well as the ESPC and its member organizations, individual contributors collectively known as the Friends of the ESPC, and Western States Center. Altogether, nearly 50 volunteers helped us canvass in Casper, Cheyenne, Rawlins, Rock Springs, and Torrington. They knocked on more than 3,800 doors. On Wind River, dozens of volunteers distributed nearly 2,000 door hangers, handed out flyers and tee shirts, gave rides to polls and prepared and served food in three communities. Thanks to all our volunteers who helped us raise the voices of thousands of Wyoming voices and many thanks to the Friends of the ESPC and ESPC organizations that provided the funds essential to getting this work done. ESPC field organizer Cristina Collling put in many long hours on the road helping volunteers in each community organize and plan the efforts in their communities, then joining them in the door-knocking. ESPC intern Jeralee Salmon also put in many hours in the office and walking in north Casper.

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