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    News Round-Up: Wednesday, January 22, 2014

    Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

    The biggest snowstorm of the winter season covers the Northeast; two shootings occur on two college campuses; countries receive Olympic terror threats; and President Obama’s Commission on Election Administration releases a report offering solutions to shorten voter lines & modernize the registration process. Meanwhile, TV is taking over the entertainment headlines today as a Seattle Seahawks player goes on a postgame rant and The Bachelor’s ratings remain steady regardless of Juan Pablo’s controversial remarks.

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Northeast buried under heavy snow: http://rtvote.com/1msuR0A
    The heaviest snowfall of the season pummeled the Northeastern United States and was accompanied by plunging temperatures. Cities like Philadelphia, Washington, and New York will see temperatures in the single digits and have wind chill numbers in the negatives. Meanwhile, states like New Jersey, Delaware, and New York are declaring states of emergency based on weather conditions. Thousands of flights have been canceled as travelers try to change their travel plans. The kicker? It’s currently warmer in Alaska!

    Two universities rocked by shootings: http://rtvote.com/1ezw7gN
    Two colleges were affected by shootings this weekend. At Purdue University, a student shot and killed another student before surrendering to police on Tuesday. The shooter has been identified as 23-year-old Cody Cousins. The victim, 21-year-old Andrew Boldt, was a teaching assistant at the school. This shooting followed up reports of another school shooting at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania (a city outside of Philadelphia) where the victim is in critical condition, and the shooter is still at large.

    Countries receive terrorist threats for Olympics: http://rtvote.com/1hLAaYS
    Hungary is the latest country to receive terroristic threats towards their Olympic athletes. The message, formatted as an email, is threatening the Hungarian athletes with violence if they attend the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia next month. The nation’s security forces have been informed, as have Sochi organizers. However, officials believe that the message is random and contains no threat, something that is common before every Olympics.

    N.Y. 8-year-old saved 6 in fire, died trying to save 7th: http://rtvote.com/1ins77l
    An 8-year-old boy saved six of his family members after the trailer they were sleeping in caught on fire. The boy, identified as 8-year-old Tyler Doohan, then ran back into the home to rescue a disabled relative. The two of them were found dead in a back bedroom, and a third relative was found in a front room. Doohan warned his family about the fire and died trying to help everyone else escape.

    Cuccinelli: Chris Christie should step down from RGA post: http://rtvote.com/1in6vrP
    Virginia Republican Ken Cuccinelli said Tuesday that New Jersey governor Chris Christie should step down from chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Cuccinelli believes that the investigations and scandals surrounding Christie are preventing the Republican Party from focusing on their election year goals. The scandals include the now-infamous “Bridgegate” incident and the latest from Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who claims Christie’s administration threatened to not provide Hurricane Sandy relief money to Hoboken unless she agreed to a real estate deal.

    Presidential Commission Offers Ways to Shorten Voting Lines: http://rtvote.com/19NYHMK
    After long lines continued at the polls during the 2012 election, President Obama announced the launch of a bi-partsian panel of election and management experts following his State of the Union speech last year. The Presidential Commission on Election Administration released their report & findings to President Obama and Vice President Biden today with recommendations on how to shorten voting lines and modernize the voter registration system. Rock the Vote is proud to announce their support of the Commission’s recommendations & their role in providing testimony and technology highlighted in the report. This is a big win for American voters!

    CULTURAL

    Seattle Seahawks corner Richard Sherman loses his cool in a pre-Super Bowl interview: http://rtvote.com/1kXQb2q

    Juan Pablo Galavis’s remarks don’t dent The Bachelor‘s ratings: http://rtvote.com/1kXQDh6

    Murder, She Wrote reboot scrapped by NBC: http://rtvote.com/19NNCeB

    Jersey Shore‘s former cast member Jenni “JWoww” Farley is having a girl: http://rtvote.com/1msKDIW

    Veronica Barger
    Bio: Veronica is currently studying communications, law, economics, and government at American University in Washington, DC. Originally from New Jersey, she has held an interest in politics since the 2008 presidential election. Being a newly registered voter, she understands how important it is for young people to register to vote and have their voices heard. She looks to spread that message with Rock the Vote.

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



    An Open Letter to Cory Booker from Rock the Vote

    Friday, October 18th, 2013

    Dear Senator-Elect Booker,

    Congratulations! I am writing on behalf of Rock the Vote to commend you and your team on Wednesday’s victory. You brought important issues to light throughout the campaign cycle from reducing gun violence and better educating our country’s young people, to economic empowerment. We are confident that New Jersey will continue to prosper under your leadership.

    As you know, Rock the Vote’s mission is to register, educate, and empower young people such that they can participate in our country’s democracy. This begins at the local level – which is why we’ve been there – in high school classrooms, at concerts and festivals, and on college campuses – talking to young New Jersey voters about this important special election.

    As you know (and further evidenced by the young people who worked on your campaign and those that cast their ballots for you on October 16th), young people are a powerful collective that not only care about their state, but that are engaged! And they will play an increasingly important role in shaping the future of politics.

    We hope that as the Senator of New Jersey – especially as the Senate’s seventh youngest member, ninth-ever African American and only the fourth black senator ever popularly elected – you will continue to support our efforts to educate and engage this rising American electorate, and stand up for the interests of our 80,000+ friends in New Jersey.

    Again, we offer our congratulations and look forward to working with you as the newest Senator of New Jersey. We wish you the best of luck!

    Sincerely,

    Heather Smith

    President of Rock the Vote

    Heather Smith
    Bio: Heather is President of Rock the Vote.
    @rtvHS
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    Want to Prevent the Next Shutdown? Register to Vote

    Friday, October 11th, 2013

    Walking home from the King Street, Alexandria metro station the other night, I passed a chalkboard street menu bearing the words “Special Deal for Members of Congress: 2X Entire Bill.” This is no anomaly – signs like this are sprouting up all over. I admit they are funny, but there’s no denying the brewing frustration with our government. I mean, come on—Americans currently prefer cockroaches, potholes, toenail fungus, and hipsters to our current Congress (although Congress still trumps Miley Cyrus. Way to go, America. Good job.).

    And yet I remain optimistic that our democracy will recover – even as #furloughbeards approach the tipping point of appropriate public hygiene.

    In just a few weeks, Virginians will head to the polls to elect a new Governor, and much more. The impact of this election will be huge: as chief executive of the commonwealth, the Governor of Virginia will oversee policies and programs from healthcare, to education, to transportation. And the three lucky fellas vying for your vote are Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli, Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe, and Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis (all listed in alphabetical order by last name to avoid preference).

    But even if you haven’t been closely following this election, the timing of the Virginia gubernatorial could not be better. This is one of our country’s first major elections since the government shutdown, and the outcome could set a precedent for 2014.

    Our democracy was constructed to respond to the will of the people, and when the public gets agitated, our leaders get nervous (and let’s be honest, we’re more than a little peeved). When we stand united, We the People have a voice—and given the state of politics these days, I think it’s about time we use it. Now, more than ever, we need to remember the importance of civic participation, and the consequences of a government that doesn’t act in the interest of the American people.

    In times like these, young Americans are poised to motivate a substantial shift in the attitude of our elected officials—particularly in Virginia. Currently, young people between the ages of 18 and 30 make up 20% of the electorate. That’s one out of every five eligible voters. Right now, thousands of young people across the Commonwealth are registering their friends, knocking on doors, picking up phones. There is power in those numbers, and when we organize, our leaders get scared (Don’t believe me? Remember Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring, KONY 2012, SOPA, The Human Rights Campaign….that list goes on).

    All this is to say that we Millennials have power and, given the right spark, we can set the world on fire (credit to the band Fun. for that line).

    Mission Impossible movies also come to mind. You know when Tom Cruise receives his assignment: “Your mission… should you choose to accept it….” I admit (though it’s hard), I’m no Tom Cruise, but we Millennials have the tools to organize. We have a reason to rally. This is our spark. And the final step is to accept the mission at hand and take action.

    So here’s your mission… should you choose to accept it.

    1) Register to vote (Deadline is Tuesday, Oct 15th. Don’t procrastinate with this one. It takes five minutes)

    2) Register your friends to vote (share this post on twitter or Facebook)

    3) Vote on November 5th (need a reminder? We got your back)

    No matter who you are or who you vote for, this fact remains: we will not have a voice in government unless we raise our voices now. The name of Virginia’s next governor is irrelevant if we don’t hold him accountable and pressure him to serve our interests. Regardless of political affiliation or campaign platform, we want to send the next governor into office with a clear mandate: don’t fuck around with Millennials.

    Our government isn’t exactly working for us right now (or anyone for that matter). How about we change that? Register to vote by Tuesday and join me at the polls on November 5th.

    (This post originally appeared on PolicyMic)

    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