Rock the Vote ‘makes voting cool’

Sara Scanes

Voter registration, live music kick off fest

The Rock the Vote Road Trip ’08 stopped at Kent State Friday to kick off the “We the People Fest” with live music, voter registration forms and information about voting ‘green.’

About 300 people gathered for Friday’s event that featured artists Ben Taylor and Hawthorne Heights.

Kim Rogers, political director for Rock the Vote, said the tour’s goal is to “make sure young people are registered and engaged.”

“Everyone says young adults are apathetic, but I don’t think that’s the case,” Rogers said.

Many young people at the tour stops are already registered and politically active, she said. Student volunteers encouraged fellow students to register to vote electronically aboard the Rock the Vote bus.

“With college students, you have to bring them out and entertain them,” senior marketing major Brittany Mayti said. “They might as well register while they are at the concert.”

Jess Mariglio, Rock the Vote field organizer for Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio, said the tour “makes voting cool” because music and pop culture have an important influence on young people.

“It’s our civic duty to vote,” Hawthorne Heights drummer Eron Bucciarelli said. “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain about things, and the way things are, there’s a lot to complain about.”

In addition to registering students to vote, the tour encouraged people to sign the “Power Vote Pledge.” Power Vote, a non-partisan organization dedicated to making the green movement a priority in this election, is partnered with Rock the Vote.

Lauren McMillan, Central Ohio field organizer for the National Wildlife Federation, said Power Vote’s goal is to get one million young adults to commit to “clean, renewable energy and green jobs around the country.”

Friday’s event at Kent State marked the first partnership between Power Vote and Rock the Vote in Ohio, McMillan said.

“We’re both trying to get youth to vote, so why not partner up?” said Kyle Galindez, sophomore sociology and classics major and Power Vote organizer for Kent State.

Rock the Vote Road Trip ’08 began Sept. 13 and runs until Oct. 6, making stops in Tennessee, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota, including visits to 20 colleges and universities.

Contact news correspondent Sara Scanes at [email protected].