How VOTE-ive Candles Reached New Voters

In June of 2018 the local resistance art group, Artists Respond and Resist Together or AART started working on a collaborative project with Santa Cruz Indivisible SCI in an effort to help fundraise for for billboards in CA-22, home to Congressman Devin Nunes.

Over the course of the project 300 VOTE-ive candles were decorated by members of SCI, ARRT artists, and local high school students.
The original idea for the candles came from the SCI Planned Parenthood team as a fundraising tool for Planned Parenthood and featured Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The Statue of Liberty became the new spokesperson for the VOTE-ive candles with a focus on voter registration. VOTE-ive candles can be purchased for personal use or as a donation to a new voter.
The instructions on the back of the candle tell the user to light the VOTE-ive candles three times. The first, after you have registered to vote. The second, when you have your plan to vote: date, time, and poling location. The third, after you cast your ballot!
Karen Gallant was one of the main organizers for the project and along with other members of the group traveled to Fresno to hand out candles to the new American citizens. Here was her experience:
On Tuesday (September 11), a group of us were on hand at the Naturalization Ceremony to hand out over 100 decorated VOTE-ive candles to the new citizens and their families.  As over 1000 happy and excited people streamed out of the Fresno Convention center, we cradled candles in our arms and waded into the crowds, offering the candles as gifts and encouraging the new citizens to register and vote.  It was gratifying to see their grateful smiles and enthusiasm, and we were happy to see the registration tables busy with people filling out forms. When we ran out of candles, we distributed bi-lingual bookmarks emblazoned with the message “Friends make sure Friends Vote”.  All in all, we distributed more than 200 bookmarks and about 125 candles. Walking back to the car after the event, we came upon a family taking photos- big smiles, tears, happy kids, and cradled in the arm of the new citizen was one of our candles!  Fun to think about our blinded beauties finding a shelf or a table to live on in all those homes. I am so grateful for all the effort, creativity, hard work and team spirit that went into this project.  Thank you one and all. Special thanks to Marilyn and Keith Humphrey, who did more than their fair share of shlepping, wrapping, boxing, selling, and supporting this project;  Madaline Tomlinson, who knows every dollar store in the county and where to find white votive candles, and to my husband Frank, who has been an indefatigable artist’s assistant. Maybe there are some silver linings to this whole horrible Trump era!!