SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – A band of local Syracuse residents went door to door in the ‘Get Out the Vote’ Walk on Sunday, Oct. 27. But they weren’t celebrating anything. The non-partisan group marched down the second and fifth election districts in the 19th ward of Syracuse, trying to convince people to vote.
Organizers say 1 out of 4 registered voters from these sections actually cast their ballots on election day, some of the lowest numbers in the state. Heather Waters of the League of Women Voters says the walk was successful because they developed a personal connection with the voters.
“I think it’s just about making a human connection with this. When people come around, they often come around for their party and their candidates,” Waters said. “So for us to come around just as neighbors saying, ‘Hey, let’s get out to vote. Are you registered? What do you need? Join us.’ That has been satisfying and I think people have been receptive to it.”
The message was clear. Chris Piercel of Onondaga Votes explained why it’s important to vote.
“If you stay home, then you’re not engaged in voter participation,” Piercel said. “Then you have no voice, you lose your voice to exercise your right or complain about what you want collectively, because individually, you wouldn’t have a chance. So when one person says that they don’t care or they don’t do that, they’re just denying themselves a right that their ancestors died for.”
The public support was visible. Many were drawn to the music and greeted the residents at their doors to learn about the importance of voting. For Angela Wilson of the Northside of Syracuse, the walk represented a brighter future.
“I’m smiling right now. I was happy. I thought it was progressive … If you want different results, you have to do different things and I liked it. I’m all for it,” Wilson said.
The Get Out the Vote Walk was a collaboration between Onondaga Votes, the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, the Lambda Kappa Mu sorority, Tomorrow’s Neighborhoods Today and the Unity Street Band. Each of them are confident in this year’s voter turnout.