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    ‘get out the vote’



    You’re Never Too Old To Trick Or Vote

    Monday, October 28th, 2013

    Picture this: you’re passionate about democracy (obviously) and you’re looking for the best, spoooooookiest way to get your community out to the polls this fall.

    You probably already know that knocking on doors is the best way to get out the vote (increasing voter turnout by a whopping 8-12%, according to some Yale brainiacs).

    And what is the one day each year people expect a knock on their door (and greet said knocker with candy)? Halloween. Because scaring is caring.

    And when does Halloween happen to fall on the calendar? Always a few days before the election.

    So you may be too old to Trick or Treat, but you’re never too old to Trick or Vote.

    Founded in 2004 in Portland, Oregon, Trick or Vote is the nation’s largest nonpartisan get-out-the-vote effort…in costume. It’s where you get to dress up like your favorite witch, wizard or Deputy House Whip and remind your local coven to vote.

    Although 2013 is an off-year, there are tons of important elections being decided on November 5th. Governors will be elected in Virginia and New Jersey, over 30 large cities are electing mayors, and there are local elections across the nation. Trick or Vote gives community organizers a chance to do something different with their important work (and add some candy to their usual diet of pizza and exhaustion).

    I’m sure you’re now wondering, “How do I get in on this sweet democratic action? Do I need to get bitten by a zombie or one of those shiny Twilight vampires?”

    No, silly. Just sign up to volunteer at one of the many Trick or Vote events across the country. You can find an event to attend at www.trickorvote.org, or sign up to ghost host your own event at http://trickorvote.org/signup2013/!

    C’mon, all the ghoul kids are doing it.

    -Emily Alsleben, National Programs Manager/ Empower Ranger, Bus Federation

    Trick or Vote is a nonpartisan program of the Bus Federation Civic Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to finding innovative ways of engaging the next generation in what it calls “hands-on democracy.” Trick or Vote is a strictly nonpartisan tool for engaging more people in our democracy, and it does not endorse any candidate, issue or ballot measure. But it does think your costume looks nice.

    Guest
    Bio: This is a guest blog account. Have a blog you want to share with the RTV community? E-mail us at streetteam@rockthevote.com and we'll go from there!

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    Meet Carina

    Friday, October 25th, 2013

    We’re currently obsessed with Carina. She’s a first generation student at Old Dominion University and one of our esteemed Fellows working to Get Out the Vote in Virginia! If you’ve lost faith in the Millennial generation, it’s only because you haven’t met Carina yet. Shall we introduce you?

    • Give us a little background. Who are you? Where did you come from? Where do you go to college? What are you studying?

    My name is Carina Wicker. I’m was born in Norfolk, Virginia, but raised in Lynchburg, Virginia. I am a proud representative from both locations. Lynchburg and Norfolk have both made me who I am today. Right now I am a sophomore at Old Dominion University double majoring in Political Science and International Studies.

    • How did you first get involved with Rock the Vote?

    I got involved with Rock the Vote because I am currently the Director of Legislative and Diversity Affairs for the Student Government Association at Old Dominion University. Sam Menefee-Libey contacted me, and told me about Rock the Vote because of the work I have done in Student Government. I was incredibly excited about the opportunity because Rock the Vote sounded exactly what I was passionate about.

    • Tell us a little bit about your work as a RTV/CEEP fellow. What have you been doing to register voters? Do you have any cool stories to share? 

    As a RTV/CEEP fellow my main goal was to always inform the students about the true significance of voting. My co-fellow and I have worked endlessly with emails and tabling. We have tabled in the Old Dominion Student Union Center, or Webb Center, and grabbed students’ attention if only for five seconds to tell them about the power they could potentially have if they voted. We have reached out to different organizations and first year students to make sure all of them were ready for the Election Day. We had the awesome opportunity to work for the Lieutenant Governor Candidate Debate at Old Dominion. There we were recognized during the debate and then recognized by different news channels that recorded the debate. In my opinion, if I had gotten only one person registered or helped one person see how powerful their voice is, I feel like that is a successful run.

    • Tell us something inspiring about yourself

    Something inspiring about myself… Well, I am a first generation college student. I barely got any financial aid, and most defiantly did not have money coming out of pocket for school. I did not receive much help going towards college, so I completely relied on myself and God. I work two jobs, I have this fellowship, and I am a proud director of the Legislative and Diversity Committee at Old Dominion’s Student Government Association. I also work with Virginia 21, an organization where I represent the voice of students my age to leaders in government. Not to mention I am a full-time, double major student. I feel like opportunities only come when you are willing to work hard for it. I do not take no for an answer, and there are no such things as excuses, only solutions. My favorite quote that motivates me is “If you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe then you will be successful.” -Eric Thomas. In life I want to inspire people to keep going forward, and even when you are exhausted, keep fighting. To the first generation college students who barely have any help, you can do it. Keep working and don’t allow yourself to make excuses. Do not take no for an answer, make your opportunities, and always remember that you CAN do it. 

    • Name one person who you think is changing the world.

    I believe that my generation is persistently working to change the world. I think a lot of people have goals to make this planet a little better than it is now. Those people who dedicate hours upon hours, work vigorously, and do not take no for an answer for their cause are the people who are changing the world.

    • What is the most embarrassing concert you’ve ever been to?

    I don’t think I’ve ever been to an “embarrassing” concert. I’m always so engaged in the music that even if something embarrassing happened to the performer I would not mind. My first concert was M83 then Twenty-One Pilots which both were a dream come true. I absolutely love them, and I’m actually listening to them right now as I type this. They inspire me greatly, and one day I hope to tell them both how incredible I actually think they are.  

    • Do you have any unique talents? 

    My unique talents would have to be that I can play the violin and I’m really good with a camera in my hand. I’ve played violin for nine years. The ability to make music is a blessing for me. I have shot photography for only five years, but I am passionate about it. Beauty sometimes is only a glimpse, and when I can catch that glimpse I get thrilled. 

    • If you had the attention of the entire population of American youth for 15 seconds, what would you say? 

    If I had the attention of the entire population of the American youth I would have to tell them how great life is. God gave you a great life, so live it. In life you need a passion, and when you have that passion work until you’re exhausted for it. That is when you will find happiness. Life isn’t easy, but it is worth it.

    austin@rockthevote.com
    Bio:
    @austin_estes
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    Meet Summer

    Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

    What’s the coolest job you can think of? Flight attendant? National Geographic photographer? How about Voter Advocate?

    Rock the Vote — in partnership with the Campus Election Engagement Project — has recruited a team of fellows across Virginia that are working on college campuses to register voters and educate their peers about the upcoming Virginia gubernatorial election. It’s the dream, I know.

    The media have us pegged as lazy, self-centered punks who can’t care about politics — but that’s only because they haven’t met any of our fellows. These fellows are the best of the best. They’re smart, they’re dedicated, they’re passionate, and we love them like family. Over the next few weeks we’re going to highlight some of our fellows and take a few minutes to brag about how cool they are.

    So why don’t we start by introducing you to Summer?

    • Give us a little background. Who are you? Where did you come from? Where do you go to college? What are you studying? 

    My name is Summer Gupta, most know me as Summer Siddiqui. I am from Woodbridge, Virginia. I go to Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia , and I am a sophomore. My major is Political Science and my Minor is International Studies.

    • How did you first get involved with Rock the Vote?

    My best friend told me about it, she saw an email from Rock The Vote and the CEEP. She said she thought it was something I would be interested in so I took a look at the program and loved it so I applied to it!

    • Tell us a little bit about your work as a Rock the Vote fellow. What have you been doing to register voters? Do you have any cool stories to share?

    I have been setting up tabling events, doing class raps, canvassing, and a lot of visibility activities to get Rock The Vote’s name out there. My team and I have gotten several people to register and pledge. We are having a big Halloween party for those have volunteered, registered, or pledged with us here at Old Dominion University. It has been a pleasure working with Rock the Vote at our campus. We have several wonderful volunteers and professors who are engaging and stressing the importance of Voting.

    • Tell us something inspiring about yourself

    I have came along way in my life, with the support my two very amazing parents. they have been my role models, my motivation, and my strength for the past 19 years. I am who I am today because of my parents. My mother has a political and Law based background, I am following her footsteps. I wish to become a very successful political figure in the United States of America.

    • Name one person who you think is changing the world

    I cannot name one person, I believe that there are several people who are taking the stand and changing the world for the better in several different ways.

    • What is the most embarrassing concert you’ve ever been to?

    I took my little cousin to go watch the Sesame Street concert last year, and I knew every word to every song..that was probably the most embarrassing. 

    • Do you have any unique talents?

    I have major stage fright but when it comes to Indian dance, I forget anyone is watching and just do what I want. It is my ultimate stress reliever and it makes me really happy and feel positive about everything.

    • If you had the attention of the entire population of American youth for 15 seconds, what would you say?

    Do not take your life for granted, make something big out of yourselves. Education is the most beautiful gift you can give yourself. Do something with your life by giving others what they don’t have in their lives. Love, Respect, and Treasure your family, And most importantly, exercise every right you are given.

    austin@rockthevote.com
    Bio:
    @austin_estes
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    Your Vote Could Help Determine the Election

    Monday, November 5th, 2012

    Polls are everywhere. You have to know what I’m talking about. National polls, swing state polls, likeability polls, Ohio polls.  The groups conducting these polls obviously don’t care about our feelings. If they cared, they would put our sanity first and their need to stay ahead of the news second. They wouldn’t package up voters’ complex, ever-changing, annoyingly fickle feelings into neat, little statistics every hour.

    Yes, this plethora of polls is understandably anxiety-inducing. If you’re a political junkie like me, then sometimes my guy is ahead, sometimes he’s behind, and sometimes all I need is some consistency in order to get some sleep at night. While polls will continue to torture us until Election Day, there is one glimmer of consistency that has surfaced from this mess of percentages: this is a close race. So close that no soothsayer, no poll, no superstition could confidently predict it right now. This means that, more than ever, your vote counts this November. The candidate you support is in dire need of your vote because a race this close can be decided by a small number of voters.

    Look at the 2000 election. President George W. Bush beat out Vice President Al Gore for the presidency by just 500 votes. Think of the number of people in your high school or college class; 500 of those people could have decided the election.  Think of all of the people who decided not to vote in 2000; maybe they thought they were taking a stand by not voting, or maybe they were just too lazy. Either way, they could have changed the history of our electorate if they had decided to, once every four years, walk or drive to their local polling place and pull a lever.

    You might be glad George W. Bush won; or maybe you wish Al Gore had become president. Either way, the election of 2000 could happen to any candidate. And you don’t want your candidate to lose because a couple hundred or thousand or even ten thousand people decided not to vote on Election Day. You also definitely don’t want to be one of those people, especially when the presidential race we’re facing is such a nail-biter.

    If anything, these neck-and-neck polls show that every vote matters. Saying “my vote won’t make a difference” is not an excuse. Your vote does make a difference. Your vote could be one to help swing this election.

    So cast a ballot tomorrow. Let’s finally harness our power and show those polls who’s boss. Let’s participate in an election where each candidate, every polling group, and the rest of the country are waiting with bated breath for our vote.

    Find all of the information you need to vote tomorrow at www.rockthevote.com.

    Caitlin Maguire
    Bio: Caitlin is the Marketing & Operations Manager for Rock the Vote
    @caitlinmagu
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com