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Everybody Wants You to Vote

If you’re Hispanic, or think Bush has to go, or want to defend “traditional marriage,” there’s an organization that wants you registered. They want you to rock the vote, vote your values, double your vote and declare yourself. They want you registered, and they want you to vote.

If you’re Hispanic, or think Bush has to go, or want to defend “traditional marriage,” there’s an organization that wants you registered. They want you to rock the vote, vote your values, double your vote and declare yourself. They want you registered, and they want you to vote.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
 
With the 2004 presidential election less than 75 days away and President Bush and Sen. John Kerry in a virtual dead heat, at least a dozen voter-registration campaigns have an online presence and a national sweep.
 
Country music superstar Ricky Skaggs, at a news conference announcing the Your Country Your Vote campaign, said, “To me, this is the most important election in our nation’s history,” according to an Associated Press article.
 
Skaggs and other county music stars are behind the campaign’s Web site, as well as a series of public service announcements encouraging people to register and vote.
 
Skaggs, who said he supports Bush, encouraged people to vote, no matter what their party affiliation.
 
Other musicians have gotten on the voter-registration bandwagon, though in a more partisan fashion.
 
Bruce Springsteen, the Dixie Chicks, Bonnie Raitt and others recently announced the Vote for Change tour, which combines musical performances with voter-registration drives designed to put John Kerry in office. The tour is being presented by the MoveOn Political Action Committee.
 
Religious groups are also sponsoring voter-registration efforts.
 
The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission has developed the I Vote Values campaign, which encourages people to register to vote, register a friend and then vote their values. It also provides information for churches and pastors about their legal rights when it comes to talking politics.
 
There’s also the We Vote Values campaign, focusing on people concerned about protecting “traditional marriage.” The ERLC is also a partner in this effort, as is the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family and the National Association of Evangelicals.
 
Sojourners, focused on spiritual renewal and social justice, also promotes voter registration, though it has no distinct, named campaign for such. Instead, it partners with Your Vote Matters, an initiative of Working Assets to register 1 million voters by the Nov. 2 election.
 
Each campaign emphasizes that each vote counts, and the 2000 presidential election helps make that case.
 
Consider these 2000 presidential election statistics from the Federal Election Commission:
 

  • The voting age population was almost 206 million people.
  • Roughly 156 million were registered to vote (about 76 percent of the 206 million).
  • More than 105 million votes were cast.
  • Roughly 67 percent of registered voters cast a vote.
  • Roughly 51 percent of the voting age population cast a vote.

 
Thus, about every other person eligible to vote actually did. Though Al Gore garnered about 500,000 more votes than George W. Bush, Bush won the necessary votes in the Electoral College, beating Gore 271 to 266.
 
Several campaigns are tailored to appeal to the MTV generation. They include Rock the Vote and Declare Yourself, the latter of which uses celebrity “friends” like Ben Affleck and Mel Gibson to ratchet up the cool factor.
 
There’s also Rock the Native Vote, which targets the Indian nations, and the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, which is seeking to have 10 million Latinos registered to vote by this year’s election.
 
Other “campaigns” are actually services. These include I Want to Vote, which will help you file your registration for a fee, and Election Impact, which bills itself as a service to organizations wanting to mobilize their base.
 
One of the more clever sites is Double Your Vote.
 
“Would you like to double or triple the power of your vote legally?” the site asks. “It’s simple and it’s much easier than trying to get someone to change their mind. All you have to do is help someone who shares your views to register to vote in your state.”
 
“Once it’s done, you will have doubled your voting power—that’s a 100 percent increase and it’s quite a bit of fun besides.”
 
Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com.