Young people with clipboards are ubiquitous on street corners in downtown Ann Arbor. Passersby earn that description by passing by, many ignoring their queries like Kevin Karjala’s this morning, “Are you registered to vote?” Others, like The Chronicle, respond in the affirmative, but brace themselves for the follow-up, thinking that a query about voter registration is probably a gate question to an invitation to sign a petition or take some other action open only to registered voters.
In Kevin’s case, there was no follow-up. His mission on behalf of MoveOn.org was simply to register voters. Kevin said that he’s required to make clear to people he talks with that MoveOn.org is not sponsored or authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.
Kevin has switched over to voter registration as a way to make some cash after a summer of mowing lawns in Ann Arbor. He makes the trip into Ann Arbor from Belleville, carpooling with his mom and best friend. Voter registration for MoveOn.org is compensated at an hourly rate of $8.
Kevin grumbled that the women standing on the same street corner handing out free coupon booklets were making $10 an hour: “Don’t you think that registering voters is more important than handing out free stuff?!” [Note the boxes in the background of the photo labeled "Free Stuff"] Mowing lawns pays better, too, he said.
For now, though, his gig is registering voters. Though not currently enrolled, he’s working to complete a program in business at Wayne Community College. And yes, Kevin says that he is himself registered to vote.