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The Orion

Democratic Action Club knocks its way into Chico

Robin+Keehn+and+Asa+Mittman+hand+out+information+about+voter+training+to+a+Chico+resident.+Photo+credit%3A+Alex+Grant
Robin Keehn and Asa Mittman hand out information about voter training to a Chico resident. Photo credit: Alex Grant

The Democratic Action Club of Chico (DACC) trained several volunteers Saturday on how to encourage Chico residents to register as Democrats for the upcoming midterm elections.

This voter engagement training event informed volunteers on how to use campaigning methods like canvassing and had them go door-to-door to poll registered voters.

David Welch, chairperson for DACC, said the last presidential election has pushed more people to become politically active.

“People have been disturbed by the results of our last presidential election and that’s motivated them to get more involved then they ever have before,” Welch said. “It’s exciting to see and I think it gives us real hope for positive change.”

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David Welch, the chairperson of DACC, helped organize this event. Photo credit: Mathew Miranda

DACC began the voter training at 8:30 a.m. with participants briefly introducing themselves. People then gave presentations on precincts, voter registration and the effectiveness of grassroots movements. As the event continued, individuals role played among themselves to practice canvassing techniques.

Canvassing comprises of knocking on doors to engage in personalized contact with voters, asking questions to invoke conversations and giving individuals an interest in politics to increase the likelihood they vote.

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Robin Keehn and Asa Mittman, like every other group, used maps and lists of registered Democrats handed out at the DACC training. Photo credit: Alex Grant

Canvassing is utilized by all political parties to identify supporters, persuade the undecided and to inform people on how to register for the next election.

After a quick lunch at the Craig Dining Hall, participants split into groups of three to four people with each group receiving a precinct, list of addresses and questions to ask voters.

Participants asked questions like, “Can I count on you to vote in the next election?” “Are you registered to vote?” and “What do you think about Doug LaMalfa?”

Volunteers Robin Keehn and Asa Mittman went to 24 different houses and asked 11 people their thoughts about the first district congressional seat up for election in the midterms.

“We’re trying to de-Doug the first district,” Keehn said.

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Robin Keehn explains what campaigning door-to-door was like to other canvassing volunteers. Photo credit: Alex Grant

Mittman, a Chico State professor and the art and art history department chair, also explained why he participated in this event.

“We’re Democrats in training,” Mittman said. “We’re learning to go knocking on doors to help (register) voters.”

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Chico State professor, Asa Mittman, puts a voter engagement informational sheet on a resident's door. Photo credit: Alex Grant

Prior to dispersing, Robin Richards, an organizer for the event, made sure attendees understood the main goal behind door-to-door campaigning.

“Our message today is to be a listener,” Richards said. “They want to vent, they don’t want to know the platform.”

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Robin Roberts helped planned the event and led group discussions throughout the day. Photo credit: Mathew Miranda

Richards also hoped that canvassing would help to reach out to a younger generation of voters.

“This is the world that they’re inheriting and I truly believe that the group of people who are 18 to 30 are the leaders of tomorrow.” Richards said. “(It’s) important to make their wishes known about the type of world you want to see.”

DACC meets on the fourth Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. inside the Chico Branch of the Butte County Library.

Mathew Miranda can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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