Student covers election canvasing in audio story

At right, Ann Elise Trafford, with the City of Madison Clerk’s Office, helps students register to vote ahead of the presidential election while staffing an information table on East Campus Mall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
At right, Ann Elise Trafford, with the City of Madison Clerk’s Office, helps students register to vote (photo by Jeff Miller / UW-Madison).

Student journalist Haoyan (Ken) Wang covered efforts to get out the vote ahead of the November midterm elections for a class project. Wang is in the accelerated MIPA program, and is currently an undergraduate student studying political science, international studies, and journalism.


[Door knocking sound] “Who is it?”

Ken Wang, Accelerated Program student

That was canvassing, or typically known as door-knocking, a traditional method for grassroot organizing during an election year. As we are getting closer to the election day, November 8th, there has been an increase in organizing efforts to get people to vote in Madison, and organizations like For Our Future Wisconsin play an important role in grassroots organizing in the current election cycle.

What is Our Future for Wisconsin? What does the organizations do? Maxwell Klein, a Senior Field Organizer at For Our Future Wisconsin, shared more information on what the organization is focusing on.

Maxwell Klein, Senior Fields Organizer at Our Future for Wisconsin

“Right now we have the ‘Get Out the Vote’ campaign, which is pretty much just motivating registered voters and potential voters actually go to the polls.”


With the election being in less than a month away, Klein believes Wisconsin is now at the home stretch, which has motivated people to organize and volunteer.


“Volunteering has started picking up, now that we are closer to the election. Now that’s October, we are a lot closer to November now, so a lot more people are kinds of energized and want to volunteer and help.”

Klein also shared different types of volunteering that could help with organizing or mobilizing people to vote.


“So the main volunteering opportunity we offer is canvassing, which is when we go door to door.  We have had some consistent volunteers out of state, five to ten every time we had canvassing events. The main ones that people are interested, I would say, are phone banking and text banking.”

Just because canvassing is a traditional organizing method, it doesn’t mean young people are not involved in it.


“In terms of the young people in this election, I feel like they are going to be the driving force. In terms of volunteering with us, a lot more young people volunteering canvassing, going door to door, than older people.”


This youth activism Max mentioned is not only seen in volunteering, but in other aspects as well. Claudia Mena (CM), a junior studying Political Science and French, shared some of her thoughts and observations on organizing for this upcoming election.

One thing Mena mentioned was this election would have impacts on urgent issues like healthcare, especially abortion, among other policies, one of the reasons why organizing is so important in this election.

Claudia Mena, Junior studying Political Science at UW-Madison

“I definitely think it’s important for people to organize and to use their voices because we always talk about how there is a lot of power in numbers. It makes our representatives more aware and whoever is running for the election much more aware of those issues.”


Like Klein, Mena also observed an increase in volunteering. She said most of her classes will be like ghost towns on election day.


“Most of my classes are gonna be empty because people are going out and voting and volunteering.”


As the organizing efforts continue, it is safe to say the best way to measure how successful these efforts will have been is the voter turnout. Mena remains optimistic about a high voter turnout for this midterm election.


“I think people are very passionate about it right now, and I think that even people who don’t necessarily vote all the time will just because there is a huge trend with people saying like ‘get out and vote’. I definitely think that I have seen even more efforts this time around than I have seen before because I have been approached… I think probably by like five people asking already if I have registered to vote.”


The election day in Wisconsin is November 8th, make sure you are registered to vote. Studio, back to you now.

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