What I’ve learned while knocking doors to save democracy Skip to content

What I’ve learned while knocking doors to save democracy

Guess what – doing political door-knocking can actually be fun! Joanie Prentice shares her experiences while out meeting with voters.

3 min read

I don’t think I would have believed it if anyone had told me that I’d have so much fun knocking on doors of strangers to talk about voting, candidates, and issues. Basically, I’m an introvert that likes to stay in my comfort zone. However, once 2016 happened, I realized I have a role and responsibility to do what I can in my little corner of the world to protect my 3 granddaughters’ futures (and the futures of lots of other folks).

I’ve knocked doors in every part of Jefferson County, and people are people everywhere. Some are interested and some are not. Some people answer their door and some don’t. Some people decorate their porches, their doors, and their yards, and I love seeing all the varieties of landscaping, personalization, and creativity. I’ve also canvassed in my own precinct multiple times, and now my neighbors know me!

My favorite door knocking lately has been with the Louisville Democrat Volunteers team. We decided to knock on every door in some large apartment complexes in parts of the county that don’t often get much attention. You all, I tell you, it’s fun!

We’ve done at least 4 events in the last few months and a couple of times we had a 50% answer rate. Talk to any candidate – they’d love to have a 50% answer rate. We have a fabulous flyer that has all the pertinent voting information in an easy-to-read format, and even has those helpful QR codes. Now that we know about the early voting locations, we have added them to the flyer. We also tell people how to find polling locations for election day.

We always ask folks if they are “registered to vote at their current address.” You see, a lot of times apartment dwellers move from place to place and their voter registrations need updating. We help them update their registration, and they are grateful to get it done.

We have been able to help some folks understand and see online that their voting rights have been restored, and have helped them to register to vote! Talk about a rewarding experience: to see someone get their right to vote returned to them.

It’s fun to give people information and help them see how important it is to have their voices heard and that their vote is important! One of the things I realized is that many of these people are just working so hard to make it from day to day. They don’t have time to explore a lot of politics. Some of them don’t know there’s an election or who’s running. We try to give them some info and make it as easy as possible for them to vote. Most of all, I love the friendliness of these people; I have been offered water, cookies, gratitude for the information, and all kinds of blessings to have a good day.

Another one of my favorite recent experiences involved door-knocking in an apartment complex with a pretty good number of non-English-speaking folks. Meet Google Translate! The friendliness and excitement these people greeted me with warmed my heart. While many of these good people were not eligible yet to register to vote, they shared their excitement of being able to talk about the day when they become U.S. citizens and can exercise that beautiful privilege to vote. I told each one of them I will be so excited to come back and talk with them in the future about voting! (And, we are getting our flyers translated into multiple languages!). The generosity of these people was almost beyond belief – their smiles and openness and offers of every kind of treat and water. I finished that day with a smile on my face and being so glad I knocked on their doors and welcomed them to our country and city.

I’ve also knocked a lot of doors for candidates and am currently getting ready to invite friends to join me in knocking doors in my precinct again – and then we gather at my house afterwards and share stories, refreshments, and friendship. There are so many little ways to get involved to help improve our Democracy. What are you doing in your little corner of the world?


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Joanie Prentice

Joanie Prentice is a Mom, Grandma, RN and a self-anointed “Legislative Nerd.” She is an activist who is passionate about educating voters. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)

Louisville, KY