Jessica Sewing | Collegio Reporter
Timi Myers says more than 7,000 people in Crawford County are not registered to vote, and she decided to do something about it. Myers says she chose to organize a voter registration outreach for her project in Advanced Social Work Practice II.
Myers says she started the project to target only people in Crawford County, but she ended up helping anyone who wanted to register, as long as they were from Kansas. She says she wanted to educate as many people as possible, people who may not have known how to register, when to register or just hadn’t taken the time to register.
Myers says that when she talked to people about voting, they told her they didn’t plan on voting this year because it doesn’t matter, or because they don’t see anyone they would like to vote for.
“I think there are a lot of apathetic people out there that don’t feel that their vote matters,” said Myers, senior in social work. “I think it does matter. We all live in this community and have a part. We all have complaints and concerns that should be voiced.”
Myers says many of the people she spoke with were unaware that they had to reregister every time they change their address, name or party affiliation. She says they also spread the word about the new laws that require voters to bring a photo I.D. with them to the polls.
“We tried to reach as many people as we could by setting up tables at Wal-Mart, Ron’s Supermarket and on PSU’s campus,” Myers said.
Myers says they also helped residents fill out voter registration forms and Applications for Permanent Advanced Voting Status at local nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
“I wanted people to be able to voice their opinions and let their voices be heard by representatives and senators,” Myers said.
Myers says she wanted to get people in the community involved in the outreach, and nearly 30 people volunteered to help register voters. She says volunteers ranged from PSU students to the Crawford County Clerk, Donald Pyle.
“I was surprised at the large number of people that helped out with this project,” Myers said. “I was also surprised at the large number of people that were supportive and encouraging while we were out in the community registering people to vote.”
Myers was able to register nearly 300 residents out of the thousands who weren’t registered.
“So far we have reached 286 people in Pittsburg and the surrounding areas to vote,” Myers said. “This is a huge success. These voices can be heard in local, state and national elections.”
The final count for the Voter Registration Outreach will be announced at Rock the Vote on Friday, April 27. There will also be a table where people can register to vote at the event.
“Voter Registration Outreach was beneficial and successful,” Myers said. “We were able to educate community members and students about voting and voter registration. We were able to make it quick and easy to register to vote.”
Myers says voting is just one of the many ways people can express their opinions and concerns. She compares voting to customers in a restaurant.
“If we don’t tell the waiter what we want to eat, we probably won’t get what we want. We’ll get what everyone else is having. I like to place my own order,” Myers said. “Our representatives are here to serve us. If we don’t tell them what we want, they won’t know.”