Non-Profit Spotlight: HeadCount
If you’ve attended a music festival in the past few years, there is a pretty good chance you have run into someone from HeadCount trying to register you to vote. Since the midterms in 2014, we have been at 1,590 events, registered over 51,000 people face-to-face and over 107,000 online. We are a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that harnesses the power of music to register voters and promote civic participation.
I am writing this essay four days before the election and you are reading my words after the results have been tabulated (unless there was a glitch or something crazy went down!) so at this point, it is not really about getting people out to vote. I am here to encourage you to follow your passion and fight for what you think is right.
Today, the majority of U.S. citizens over the age of 18 are eligible to vote (with the exception of felons - different states have different laws). This would lead one to believe that voter turnout would obviously be close to 100%, right? WRONG! According the U.S. Census Bureau, only 56% of the eligible population voted in 2012. Can half the country really not care what happens in the future?
Working every weekend this year to register voters, I was bombarded with comments that span pretty much every political viewpoint out there. If you thought of a creative insult about one of the candidates, I probably heard it at least twelve times. Very few people seemed to be neutral or undecided (except Ken Bone and his posse of “undecided” citizens) and the reactions towards the candidates seemed to be a lot more visceral than usual. While the mudslinging and complaints were annoying, they were easily brushed aside. What really got to me was when people would say, “I don’t like anyone so I’m not voting.”
Now I know there are many problems with our system. I get it. We are flawed. The two parties dominate politics and the third party candidates get overshadowed. But hey, at least we get a few to choose between and as more people get involved in the political process, things seem to be changing. In comparison, you could be living in North Korea and your choice would be Dear Leader or a labor camp. At least we have a choice!
The first step to making your voice heard is to vote in the midterm elections! You may not always like the choices in front of you. That’s ok! As Mick has been telling us since the 60s, you can’t always get what you want. However, it is important that you take that first step towards your ultimate goal and decide which choice will get you going in the right direction.
I invite all of you to join me in registering voters in the coming year. You can check out our site HERE. If getting people set up to vote isn’t your thing, no worries! As long as you get yourself to the polls, that is what matters. If you missed your chance on November 8, you can find us fighting the good fight at a music festival near you in 2017 and we can help ensure that your voice will be heard next time!
by HeadCount Staff Writer