CCNE works to register voters, host fundraiser

ContributedNEW HAVEN – It’s no secret that it’s election time in Connecticut. Political ads abound and candidate debates are heating up. Yet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Connecticut has more than one million unregistered voters.

That’s a statistic that the Connecticut Center for a New Economy isn’t happy with. Since June volunteers from the organization, including clergy, have knocked on more than 2,000 doors in New Haven, reminding residents that they have a voice.

“We’re lobbying together, going door-to-door talking to people about what they care about and asking them to vote,” said Renae Reese, executive director of CCNE. “In these urban areas voter participation is low. We’re trying to rebuild that sense of democracy.”

On Aug. 12 volunteers from the Community Voter Project will be honored at the CCNE’s annual fundraiser in New Haven.

Shirley Lawrence, lead organizer, explained that the project is non-partisan and that the goal of the project is to educate people about the power of voting.

“We encourage folks to vote. By voting on the issues that impact your neighborhood, that’s how you make changes,” she said. “People don’t realize that local elections are just as important as presidential elections, it’s what sets the agenda for the city.”

More than 80 people have volunteered to serve as door-knockers, including many who got involved with the program after being persuaded to register to vote.

The group hits the streets of New Haven every Thursday and Saturday and to date the volunteers have registered more than 500 voters, Lawrence said.

The Community Voter Project is just one way CCNE is working to serve Connecticut’s working families.

Reese explained that the organization is dedicated to engaging as many people as possible in the fight for good union jobs, outstanding public education, affordable health care, decent housing, racial justice, immigrants’ rights and environmental protection.

The Aug. 12 fundraiser is the organization’s only fundraiser this year and the funds earned will help CCNE with its operating budget. There will be artwork on display, refreshments and live music.

“We need to honor our door-knockers, recognize the folks that are getting involved in their neighborhoods,” Reese said.

The event will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at Artspace, 50 Orange St. in New Haven. Tickets are $75. For information write or call (203) 785-9494.

For more information on Connecticut elections, visit CT News Junkie.

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