Commentary & Analysis

Volunteer Spotlight: Making Community Connections in Fargo

A common theme among our supporters and volunteers is that they are initiative-takers—and volunteer Dakota Rhodes is no different.

Dakota was a lead volunteer on our approval voting campaign in Fargo, responsible for coordinating other volunteers, creating maps for door-knocking with Reform Fargo, tabling at events, and more.

As a working mother, Dakota had reduced her hours at work in order to volunteer more in her community, and she often brought her daughter along with her on campaign activities.

Approval Voting Army Canvassing
Dakota and her daughter (center) out canvassing with Reform Fargo.

“What I’m passionate about is making systemic change toward the better. So I thought, if I could work less and make less money but put those hours toward something that could make a difference, I was willing to make that sacrifice.”

Dakota got involved with the approval voting campaign after she became disenchanted with her local political party.

“I felt like a lot of things that were going on in the two parties were not very democratic,” Dakota said.

She felt like a powerless cog in a giant political machine, and she recognized that approval voting could change that by putting power back in the hands of the voters. “It felt liberating,” she said.

Dakota and other members of the Approval Voting Army
Approval voting supporters on ballot certification day

Dakota was an incredibly dedicated volunteer, yet she doesn’t even live in Fargo. “I live in Moorhead, MN, which is just across the river from Fargo. It wasn’t going to be my vote — it wasn’t going to change the way things run in my city, but I felt that Fargo really needed it.”

Reflecting on her experiences, Dakota noted that the most fulfilling part of volunteering with CES and Reform Fargo was breaking through the current toxic political climate to get to know fellow members of her community across partisan lines.

“It made it easy to talk to people who I would have never had a conversation with and who are ideologically different than me,” Dakota noted.

“This isn’t about a specific person or politician, this is about your choice and how we can have a more direct democracy. I formed relationships with people through the campaign that I probably would have never had. It brought me close to people in my community that I couldn’t have really foreseen.”

Are you ready to connect with your community and advance the movement for a stronger democracy like Dakota did? We need all hands on deck to continue the momentum for better voting methods.

Sign up to volunteer with us, or check out other ways you can get involved with the movement.