Groups in Philadelphia sponsoring major get out the vote effort

The American Federation of Teachers and Unite Here unions are part of a national get out the vote effort which claims to have influenced many Philadelphians.

A group of people wearing red T-shirts pose with signs that read,

Get out the vote volunteers gathered in FDR Park on Nov. 4, 2022, just days before the Nov. 8 general election. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

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The final election day push is underway to bring out voters in the region.

More than 200 people who are knocking on doors to try and influence voters gathered at FDR Park in South Philadelphia to prepare their final effort to influence the turnout on Election Day next week. The group included members of Unite Here Philly’s Workers to the Front canvas team and the American Federation of Teachers.

Among them was Shantel Woodberry, who said after knocking on more than 10,000 doors since the summer, she thinks there are still people unaware of the importance of the election in Pennsylvania.

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“We just speak the truth when we talk to them and it opens up conversations for people to be like, ‘Well, what about this and what about that?’ And we can tell them honestly,” Woodberry said. “I feel like it’s going to make people that didn’t think they would want to come out to vote, to come out and vote.”

A woman speaks into a microphone, with woods visible behind her.
Shantel Woodberry of Olney has knocked on tens of thousands of doors as part of the get out the vote effort. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Woodberry said the people she has been speaking with appreciate her efforts to educate and enlighten them about the candidates.

“You’d be surprised how many people don’t know how important it is, but also you’d be surprised how many people are so informed of what is going on and how these candidates can help and change their lives,” she said. “So a lot of the feedback is, ‘I’m glad you’re out here talking to us.’ Parts of the city don’t even have people come to them and knock on doors and speak to them. So it actually makes them feel good that people care about their community.”

David Hogg, a gun control activist who survived the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, joined the group in South Philly Friday morning. He said this is a critical election for the future of the country, especially when it comes to curbing gun violence.

“We can’t just address how somebody gets a gun. We have to address why they pick it up in the first place,” he said.

People, many wearing red T-shirts, gather in a park on a fall day.
Canvassers gather at FDR Park in South Philly on Nov. 4, 2022. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Jerry Jordan heads up the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, the union representing teachers in the city’s public schools. He told those at the rally their work is important and needs to be done.

“Ours is the struggle of a lifetime and maybe even many lifetimes. And each one of us in every generation must do our part,” Jordan said.

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Canvassers say they’ve knocked on more than half-a-million doors on behalf of John Fetterman and Josh Shapiro, and they believe that effort has added close to 70,000 votes for the Democrats.

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