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Columns > HeadCount

Published: 2008/04/23
by Court Scott

Count Me In!! HeadCounts Content Editor Speaks

As 2008s spring and summer tour and festival seasons groove into full swing, I hope youll take note of numerous HeadCount volunteers working hard to register and provide electoral information to voters. For those who dont know, HeadCounts a voter registration group founded in 2004 by Andy Bernstein (author of The Pharmers Almanac) and Marc Brownstein (bassist for the Disco Biscuits) and is enthusiastically supported by numerous artists, music industry professionals and volunteers and organizations committed to getting out the vote in the live music scene. It is a labor of love for all involved; we each believe music, expression, and freedom are intertwined and are valuable motivators for engaging Americas youth. HeadCount works because artists and their music can inspire in ways that politicians and bills do not, and HeadCount works because everybody involved recognizes their stake in its success.
I first became involved with HeadCount in 2004, working at local shows to register voters because it was a fantastic way to meld my awareness of political issues with my passion for live music. Im fairly gregarious; totally in my element chatting folks up at shows, and so to be given a clipboard and told to roam free in the crowd sounded great to me. Registering folks is a truly gratifying experience, and so this year Ive taken on the role as Content Editor for HeadCounts site and printed materials. At a time when so much news isnt valuable information, rather the content is spun, massaged, or obfuscated, for me its crucial to work with a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization to educate our community about issues, candidates, and basic democratic procedure. Frankly, I think what a lot of people dont know and havent bothered to learn is unsettling and so I basically I use words, working with the core HeadCount team to share hopes and goals needed to reach our vision. And in addition to writing for newsletters, blogging on our site, and editing other materials, Im a Team Leader for Seattle, which puts me in the unique position of being able to describe HeadCounts goals and strategies on both a national and local level.
As Content Editor, I am helping to put together a Voter Guide to hand out at shows and festivals in the coming months. Itll be a pocket sized book providing general voter information and special words from some of our key figures/musicians about issues near and dear to them. It will also feature information about where each Presidential candidate stands on certain HeadCount-selected issues, and the implications of that stance were each elected. These generally arent issues the mainstream media is covering, but are topics we feel may matter more to young people and those who identify with our shared values. A random sampling includes Israel-Palestine relations, drug sentencing reform, climate health and sustainability, and professional athletes and performance enhancing drugs.
The Team Leader position is exciting and is my chance to go out and interact with the voting public. Headed up by Regional Coordinators, each metro area has a Team Leader who identifies shows in their area that seem like good matches for HeadCount. They submit them and subsequently, the Artist Relations team and logistical gurus contact the bands/venues and arrange for us to set up at the show, the artist (ideally) gives HeadCount a shout-out, and we do our thing. I prefer to engage people when theyre at leisure and feeling playful because they are far more willing to reciprocate and share their interests and time. Post show, reports and registrations are sent back to HeadCounts NYC offices and feedback is provided about the event on our specially designed intranet. The registration forms are then sent to the appropriate states division of elections and voter registration cards are later sent to the registrants.
Its a great gig getting out and interacting with people, and you get to hear some terrific music along the way. So check us out online or in person at a show near you and get involved. Experience true freedom. Vote.

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