It's unusually busy at Democratic National Headquarters for a Saturday morning in July. But today is an unusual day—a nationwide day of action for Democrats. Across the country, volunteers are participating in more than 500 events, and here in Washington, 140 local volunteers and DNC staffers—from the executive director to the summer interns—have woken up early to drive to Virginia for a day of voter registration.
After a quick tutorial on Virginia voter registration laws and several rounds of "Fired up! Ready to go!" chants, Victoria, a D.C.-based summer organizer with Organizing for America, assembles her team of four canvassers and leads them out to Falls Church, Virginia—a quiet suburb just outside Washington. Victoria's group includes Isa, who has never registered voters before. She's a quick learner, though, and her Spanish-language skills quickly prove to be an asset in a neighborhood with a large immigrant community.
Isa meets a Latina woman walking her three young sons to the playground. Isa engages her in Spanish, asking if she's registered to vote. She is—so she fills out an "I'm in" card, offering her support in helping re-elect President Obama in 2012.
After half an hour of knocking on doors, Victoria meets an elderly Vietnamese American man who doesn't speak much English—but is determined not to let that stand in the way of registering.
"We were able to work through the process together," Victoria says. "He saw the word 'phone,' so he showed me his telephone, which had a sticker on it with his phone number. He saw 'Social Security number,' so he went upstairs and brought back his card so that I could copy down the number."
She adds, "It was inspiring to meet someone who wanted to vote that bad."
After several more hours of canvassing door to door and standing outside the local supermarket, the team has registered four new Virginia voters—and gotten nearly 30 "I'm in" cards signed from folks who were already registered to vote, not yet 18 years old, or not yet citizens.
Afterward, back at headquarters, Victoria helps organize the stacks of clipboards that are coming back stuffed with completed voter registration forms and commitment cards. She reflects on the day: "It was a great experience. It was fun, and I had some great conversations about why voting is so important. It's inspiring to know that you can make that kind of difference."
You too can make a difference. We'll let you know right here at Democrats.org when the next day of action is happening in your community—and if you haven't already, say that you're "in."