Community Superheroes: Preparing for the Election

The following reflections on National Voter Registration Day come from Terrie Smith (pictured here on the right), a Community-Based Doula from Gaffney, South Carolina, who works with first-time moms through a federally qualified health center at ReGenesis Health Care, BirthMatters.

For the last month, our BirthMatters Doula team was able to get people registered to vote. Upon learning how to do this (see NonProfitVote.org), I was able to ask each family that I served — and whoever else was around — this important question: “Are you registered to vote?”  Many were, but some needed to understand that your address must match your voter registration card.

With that being said, word was getting out there.  Even family members who had been to jail found out something new in 2012. As long as you had done your time and were not on any kind of paper work:  Yes, you can vote. This became an everyday question. I was able to get a family of four registered to vote, even one who had been to prison over seven years ago.

Two daughters and a mother shared their voting address changes with their neighbor and she was excited, saying, “I really don’t care to vote but if you can register me, I will.” I was pleased to do so for her and her two children. I also explained every vote counts and told her not to count hers or her family’s out. Being able to help someone register, especially if they wanted to but couldn’t find out and/or know where the voting booth was… I can truly say I have enjoyed it. Making something so easy as clicking and getting a person registered to vote has made a big difference in this election year for a lot of my friends, family, and Doula families who may have continued to brush it off.

I hope that I spoke it enough and got across to enough people that they were able to do this same thing and help someone else get registered to vote.

Photo by Flint Chaney, c. 2012

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Editor’s Note:  Thank you to Terrie and the BirthMatters team, and thank you to all the other community superheroes who advocate for neighbors, family and friends each day.  Do you have a story to share? How are you preparing for this election? Connect with us on Facebook or Twitter and let us know.