Rock the Vote registers 665 new voters

Rock the Vote registers 665 new voters

Tanya Ballma sits with her ukulele in the campus mall focusing on the band, Improv 101, while volunteers and ASEWU members help students get registered to vote.

The event, Rock the Vote, was all part of a plan organized by ASEWU, Eagle Entertainment and Washington Students Association to get as many students registered as possible.

“It was our goal to get 500 people,” Shelby Pelon, legislative affairs council representative, said.
According to Pelon, 610 people registered, which included first time voters and those updating their address before the event began, while 55 people were registered during Rock the Vote, totaling 665 people.

“We’re third in the state for registering people to vote,” Pelon said.

Other groups such as Pride, Scary Feminists and Delta Sigma Theta were also registering people to vote across campus, according to Pelon.

Between bands, speakers stated the issues being voted on this November and what they will look like on the ballot. The speakers also said specifically what voting no, or yes, meant.

Jeb Morgan was one of the speakers. He spoke about marriage equality.

According to Morgan, the speakers were chosen on their specific views on an issue.

Ryan Heath is a first time voter. As a gay man, he said the biggest issue for him was marriage equality.

“It’s my responsibility for my future and for my kids’ future,” he said.

Another first time voter, Caitlind Douglas, said she did not know much about politics. Douglas said that before the debates she thought politics were stupid.

Douglas talked about how she watched the Oct. 3 presidential debate at work because she needed to learn about politics.

Douglas said she was going to make plans to watch the vice presidential debate as well.

Rock the Vote featured three bands with ties to the Eastern community, according to Sarah Bicoy, one of the event’s organizers from Eagle Entertainment.

The bands featured were Cam and Big James, Improv 101 and Blue Moon. Each had their own genre of music ranging from hip hop to classic rock.

James Fleming from Cam and Big James had been rapping since he was in fifth grade and started getting serious about the idea two years ago. His brother, Cam Fleming, said his inspiration was The Beastie Boys.

“We want positive vibes and good feelings,” James Fleming said.

Ballma, a spectator, joined Improv 101 to sing, who, according to drummer Jim Warren, formed four days before Rock the Vote. David Bircher said on stage that he likes to incorporate the audience.

PJ Hanson, a volunteer with ASEWU, registered people to vote around the campus mall. He said he volunteered because this election is important.

“Some people come from other places,” Hanson said. He added that when students move, they should vote on the local laws because they affect the places they are living in for nine months out of the year.

Hanson himself said he voted in the primaries but he needed to research for local elections.

“Local government takes care of us as well,” he said.

The last band to perform was Blue Moon. Frontman Connor Gregg said he was happy to perform.

“It’s what I do,” said Gregg. “And because it’s Rock the Vote it’s nice to get people out here.”