For years, Conservation Voters for Idaho has had the only year-round team that focuses on educating and engaging the public. This election cycle, our eight Voter Outreach Specialists knocked doors across Boise in preparation for the 2023 municipal election. These one-on-one conversations are one of the most powerful ways to connect people in the community with the candidates on the ballot and remind them of our shared values around conservation and outdoor spaces.
What is it like for our VOS team to meet voters face-to-face on local issues? We asked three of them to share their experiences:
This election cycle was the first time I have gone door to door since 2010, when I was a girl scout. While people are generally much more excited about cookies, I did have very pleasant conversations with voters about a variety of things. Canvassing reminded me how open people are to connection. I had so many great conversations with voters about their time in Idaho, watching Boise change and grow. I also learned that Meredith Stead does quite a bit of her own canvassing! I got great insight into the issues that folks in Boise are actually thinking about and what policies they would like to see. Some of the best conversations I had were with people who were not fully on board with our candidates, but were willing to take the time and talk with me about their values and concerns. The kindness I received at the doors was unexpected yet warmly welcomed and shifted the view I had of my community here in town. It has been very refreshing to look past my assumed differences with people and reach a common ground in what the future could look like for Boise.
As this was my first election season canvassing, I learned an incredible amount knocking doors for Conservation Voters of Idaho. It readily became apparent that Boiseans are most worried about rapid growth and the effects that will have on their lives. Housing affordability was one of the most common issues brought up. As I explained the new zoning code and the work being done to combat the rising cost of housing and uphold gentle density principles, most people seemed to acknowledge some merit towards it. Many people hadn’t yet given much thought about the election, what candidates best represented their values, or what solutions they support. I found presenting our literature as a great place to start was the most effective way to reach them and then giving them some basic outlines of the candidates we supported. It was a very useful way to keep the issues local and make people aware of how this election could have a significant impact on their own lives. The most useful strategy for talking to people was to explain ways the candidates could use their office to support local solutions for local, state, and national issues like abortion, education, the climate crisis and more.
People are receptive, and they want to offer their opinion and participate in their Democracy. Engaging with the community at the grassroots level has been a pleasure. I get to hear firsthand what Idaho citizens think of their government and what they envision their city will and should look like.
Seeing the results of our work has given me a unique perspective. As a VOS member, you know you’re directly involved not only in garnering support but in spreading awareness of an issue, bringing some of the most pivotal points to the attention of Idaho citizens with conservation values as backdrop for the conversation. Engaging at this level, I truly feel I’m a part of a democracy.
Our track record of successful electoral victories are made possible each year by this team of passionate, engaged individuals. If you want to learn more about the Voter Outreach Support team, what we accomplish, and how to get involved in future door-knocking efforts, please reach out to us at email@example.com.