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Opinion: Canvassers deserve more respect

During this midterm season, show some common decency to your local canvassers


ASU freshman Jimena Casaus, sophomore Shamel Absar, and seniors Darby Dunlop and Sawyer Treese meet to discuss classes where they get voter registrations at the Memorial Union in Tempe, Arizona, on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018.  

During what has been called "the most important midterm election of our lifetime," national attention has shifted onto Arizona. With this national attention often comes additional resources, and an array of different political groups are combining forces to flip Arizona from a red to a blue state. 

Two of the most effective tactics for these groups are voter registration and canvassing. 

Canvassers are the people who go around neighborhoods and knock on doors, speaking to registered voters about the upcoming elections. Additionally, canvassers have also been seen on college campuses registering people to vote. 

As these new waves of groups and individuals come in trying to engage students going into the upcoming midterms, a simple practice can be overlooked — treating these canvassers with respect.

This election cycle, groups like NextGen America are putting an emphasis on young voters that they believe can be the new largest voting bloc, which encompasses many ASU students. Therefore, the increased attention on college campuses such as ASU is understandable. 

"Youth voters 18-35 are the largest voting bloc in America. This is true for Arizona. If we turn out, we can change a lot," said the ASU Tempe Organizer for NextGen America Darby Dunlop.

Dunlop is invested in turning out people to vote this midterm election through the means of field work. 

"There is a lot of inequity in the world," Dunlop said. "(The midterms are) a great opportunity to get people engaged." 

Canvassers are not always paid, and many times are out in over 100 degree heat with the general goal of increasing civic engagement. People registering you to vote are also legally not allowed to attempt to sway your political registration title, further emphasizing the mission of civic engagement.

On-campus canvassers are not trying to bother you, are not trying to invade your privacy and are most definitely not trying to sell you anything. It can be easy to overlook the fact that these are individuals with feelings and struggles who can be subject to neglect or downright harassment. 

Regardless of your political beliefs, canvassers and people that manage voter registrations are deserving of common decency and respect. 

Next time someone on campus asks you if you are registered to vote, instead of being rude, ignoring them or even shouting at them to leave you alone, remember that they are just trying to ensure that you are able to participate in the electoral process these upcoming midterms. 

Reach the columnist at or follow @JennyGuzmanAZ on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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