Promote the Vote Petitioning

Jenny and Bo Snyder both advocate Promote the Vote 2022. 

During the spring and summer, you could find volunteers petitioning for Promote The Vote Ballot Initiative in blue t-shirts across the Kalamazoo area. Jenny and Bo Snyder were volunteer field coordinators for Voters Not Politicians, the sponsoring organization of Promote The Vote. Voters, not Politicians is a nonpartisan group that seeks to “strengthen democracy through citizen engagement.”

 

Promote the vote is a ballot initiative to expand voting rights in Michigan. Among the expansions, the proposal would allow nine days of early in-person voting and extra time for military ballots to be counted. 

 

“Democrats tend to be for anything that expands voting access, and Republicans like voting in-person. And it gives us a way of voting that almost half the states already have. I think it would increase participation in elections,” said Bo.

 

Promote the Vote also enhances voter participation for active-duty military personnel. 

 

“The extra time for military ballots to be counted seemed to resonate with a lot of people. It allows more time for those ballots to be counted if they are postmarked by election day,” said Jenny. 

 

Jenny started volunteering in politics beginning with the 2018 election where she did phone and text banking for the Democratic party.

 

“Melissa Zinn came to the Kalamazoo County Democratic Party meeting, and she spoke about what Voters Not Politicians were doing, and I was just really impressed with the mission,” Jenny said. 

 

Bo recalled spending a lot of time reading the news and feeling discouraged. He wanted to take action as well. Collecting petitions was an empowering way to engage with the community for the couple. They even found that they could find a common group with people from different political backgrounds.

 

“I was able to answer their questions and bring up points of view that they hadn't thought about before, and then they signed the petition. They saw that it was… to our democracies interest, regardless of their political party. And so just having that happen a few times had a huge impact on me,” said Jenny.

 

They encourage anyone who wants to collect petitions to start small, with friends, and to be open to discomfort.  

 

“It's not comfortable for anyone when you start petitioning. Just do a little something and you will feel a little better,” said Jenny 

 

The couple says that for many volunteers, this is their first time being politically active. However, people get more invested the longer they stay involved with petitioning. After the initial leap, they become passionate about it, said Jenny.

 

“My plug for Voters, not Politicians is, if you want to get involved, it is a grassroots action-oriented organization. They are doers, not talkers, it's about getting organized and actually doing something. It's not just about voting rights, it's about ethics in government,” Said Bo.

 

Public Media Network doesn’t take democracy for granted, and we hope you don’t either. This story is part of a collaboration called Democracy Day, in which media organizations nationwide are drawing attention to threats to democracy. We hope it reminds us all to value our democracy and work to be involved, and protect it.

Democracy Day 2022