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Tea with cheese - and new voters.

By Ted Hornoi-Centerwall

We set out at the end of a hot afternoon in May. Two of us were walking a canvassing turf consisting of apartments along Old Kings Road West, just south of Baymeadows, looking to help folks sign up to vote. We picked the first apartment listed on our app. Gloria carried her phone displaying the text concerning the otherwise unnamed residents. To our knowledge, they were not even registered to vote. We had reason to believe that they were favorably disposed towards the Democratic Party. However, that was only true up to a point, as we soon found out.

Almost as soon as we knocked, a woman came to the door. She apologized for her dog barking, and she put it away in another room. She invited us in, and soon we were talking about her and her husband's interest in the elections.

Once her husband had joined her around the table in the living room, she listened to what we said about the coming August election. When we asked if they were citizens, they said they were. They showed us their Florida driver's licenses. However, they were not registered to vote.

This lack of registration was due, at least in part, to their unwillingness to be explicitly identified with a political party. They told us that their experience living in Albania, which they had emigrated from, was such that they had no desire to be part of a political party.

We told them that they could register to vote without declaring membership in a political party. We had a flyer with the QR code for the Duval County Supervisor of Elections website. The wife took her phone, accessed the website, and proceeded to apply to become a registered voter. Both she and her husband were pleased and interested. They soon had their applications submitted and received confirmation that they had been received.

What a change this was for this couple. They served us a delicious tea with cheese, walnuts, and cucumbers in olive oil. Please see the photo above.

This was just our first visit of the afternoon. It took some time, but it ended with two satisfied new American citizens who will be enthusiastic participants in our elections for years to come.


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