Gainesville Area NOW begins canvassing campaign to get out women's votes
Erika Gubrium
July/August 2004

With long working hours in the home and on the job, many women not only find it difficult to register to vote, but feel that they do not have a stake in electoral politics. Alachua County Supervisor of Elections, Beverly Hill, has recently stated that more people in Alachua County should be voting. In conjunction with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, the County has begun a formal program to encourage unregistered citizens to register while at work instead of on their own time. Gainesville Area NOW plans to build on this effort by taking their own voter registration campaign to local businesses and door-to-door in order to take electoral politics directly to local women. In doing so, they hope to make it as easy as possible to sign women up to participate in democracy and move this country forward on women's issues.

According to the U.S. census, twenty-two million unmarried women did not vote in the 2000 Presidential election. In Florida alone more than 200,000 women did not vote in the last elections. Women have a lot at stake in the upcoming national election - we could have a very different country, a stronger democracy, if more women voted. The 2000 elections in Florida woke us up. Our very right to vote, democracy in its most basic form has been, and continues to be, under threat.

As progressive activists and feminists, Gainesville Area NOW believes that women's issues need to be represented in this election and beyond. Women's abortion rights, and many other reproductive rights are being jeopardized by the current regime. Bush signed into law the most significant restrictions on abortion in 30 years, which has recently been deemed unconstitutional. He also pressured the FDA to ignore conclusive scientific evidence from their own advisory panels and from the medical establishment by blocking over-the-counter access to the Morning-After Pill, a safe, effective form of birth control. Attorney General Ashcroft has been suing to obtain the medical records of women who have had abortions. Roe vs. Wade is currently supported by a narrow (5-to-4) majority on the Supreme Court.

Gainesville Area NOW plans to canvass door-to-door in order to speak to local women on these issues in person, addressing their everyday concerns and getting them to understand the importance of their vote. Ultimately, their canvassing goal is to recruit a broad base of local women to work beyond the national elections and organize on women's issues at the grassroots level.

How can you get involved in this effort?
Gainesville Area NOW is currently building an extensive activist cadre of door-to-door canvassers committed to making house visits on a weekly basis. They will be hosting several canvassing training sessions throughout the summer and fall - the first session will be held on Sunday, August 1st, from 1-5pm. Please contact campaign co-chair, Erika Gubrium, at 377-8485 if you are interested in attending this session and/or working on this campaign.

Help us build a movement to make women's voices heard!

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