Cheverly group registers more women voters

Thursday, Oct. 19, 2006

Progressive Cheverly says its campaign to register more female voters in the town has been successful.

The registration deadline for the Nov. 7 elections was Tuesday.

‘‘I think the women’s vote is really critical. There are a lot of areas of concern to women,” said Kathy Smith, co-chair of Progressive Cheverly, which ran the ‘‘Every Woman Counts” campaign.

Progressive Cheverly members went from door to door encouraging women to register and educating them on the importance of voting. A large number of women were away from home during those visits, but in the end, Smith said the group was able to count at least 20 women who got registered.

‘‘We hit many of the houses in Cheverly that do not have a woman registered to vote,” Smith said.

Stacie Johnson, deputy project manager for MD Voters, a state-wide database of registered voters, said there are about 6,000 residents in Cheverly of which 2,581 are women who should be registered. Of this number, Johnson said about 500 were not registered.

‘‘I don’t think women can afford to ignore elections anymore,” Smith said.

She believed that that people are not voting because there is some cynicism about the political process, including electronic voting glitches.

‘‘Certainly, everybody should be registered and participate in the democratic process,” said David Thorpe, co-chair of Progressive Cheverly, who helped educate women about the voter registration process during the campaign, which started on Oct. 5.

Thorpe said the group targeted women first because it was an easy task.

Smith said the group will keep pushing until all eligible women in the town are registered.

Clareen Heikal was one of the residents who volunteered to knock on doors. She said she hopes the project would result in a bigger turnout in November.

‘‘We need more people out at the polls,” she said.

Heikal said she visited some homes with eligible voters who had just turned 18. She said one mother accepted registration forms for her daughter and her daughter’s friend, and promised to hand deliver the completed forms to the Board of Elections before the Oct. 17 deadline.

Progressive Cheverly was launched over a year ago by a group of citizens to promote economic fairness, social justice, a tolerant society and world peace.

The organization has hosted forums with delegates and senators. In September, another forum was held with school board candidates.

‘‘We don’t care if they vote Democrat or Republican. We just want to get them registered to vote,” Smith said.

Smith said although registration for the upcoming election has ended, the campaign would continue to get women registered for future elections.

E-mail Tia Carol Jones at