I have been out canvassing for Minnesota Democrats. My walk list had some “persuables” this week and I was stunned to hear from four different people that they are non-voters. (More)

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The voice in my head said, “Huh! Really! What kind of lazy irresponsible citizen are you?” (That is the family friendly version.)

What came out of my mouth was a more tempered, “Can you tell me why not?”

The common response was along the lines of, “They are all the same or it doesn’t make any difference.”

My next move was to ask them, “Well if your vote did make a difference what would be important issues for you and your family?” (I was hoping to find some common values and make a connection.)

One man said, “I am a veteran. I care about veterans issues.” By his age I would guess Vietnam.

I told him that Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden had mobilized corporations to hire more veterans and even paved the way for corporate interviewers to travel to bases in Iraq and Afghanistan to conduct employment interviews before the service members were released. I named MN corporations like BestBuy and Target that had participated. I told him that Democrats had pushed for the new GI bill and that many Republicans voted against it. Since he had a dog, I mentioned that one of Senator Franken’s first bills was to get service dogs for Vets. I asked him if those kinds of things were important in his mind.

He said, “How come I didn’t know about any of this? It’s good stuff.”

My response was, “Sometimes conflict is what the media leads with and government working for people like you and me isn’t covered as much as it could be.”

We got as far as him taking a vote by mail application and filling it out. We talked about of few more of his issues and some examples of things Democrats on a local and national level have done and are doing.

I had a similar list of examples for women’s rights, health care and student loan issues. I realized that lazy and irresponsible were not very good descriptions of any of the people who started out with, “I don’t vote.” The ones I talked to were disconnected and or overwhelmed. Listening to them and connecting with them will hopefully turn them into voters.