It was a run-of-the-mill night out. Three women found themselves drinking and talking at the local bar when conversation turned to their frustration with a mutual friend who spoke passionately about her concerns for the environment but wasn't registered to vote. And she was just one of many such people they knew.
But instead of letting the issue drop, the trio--Sara Prator, Barb Plummer and Theresa Kosztics--looked at their surroundings and had an idea.
A few nights later, they made a pitch to two other friends, Jenny Estrada and Cari Carter: Instead of trying to get younger people to register as they walk busily down the street, why not go into their own environment--the bars?
As Carter says, "A lot of 21-to-30-year-olds are in the bars saying, 'Screw voting.' I say, 'Register, grow up.'" With this go-get-'em attitude, the five Portland women formed Your Vote, On the Rocks.
Soon the basic "tabling at bars" concept expanded to include buttons, stickers and other printed materials promoting their cause, and the women worked their connections to get a few sponsors (including the local Haywire Recordings and the electronics store Good Guys) to help cover production costs. At last report, the group had registered 41 voters since hitting the clubs in late February.
However, printing costs have left the quintet strapped for cash. "We've drained the accounts dry," Estrada says. So the group is now organizing a benefit show on April 30 at Tonic Lounge. In the meantime, they continue hitting the bars, promoting their goals of "registration, education, libations and a voting nation."
YVOTR will be signing up voters at the Basement Pub March 26, at Bar of the Gods March 27, and at Shanghai Tunnel April 2. For more information, contact Theresa Kosztics at 232-7255.