October 26th, 2010 | by Jason Slotkin News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics

Scare Away Voter Apathy

trick-or-vote-pumpkin

Other than the onslaught of political ads, is anything really more terrifying than voter apathy?

Volunteers with the now-regular election ritual of Trick or Vote may show up on your doorstep in Portland this Halloween afternoon to help dispel that apathy before the Nov. 2 election. (As of today, only about one in six Multnomah County voters has returned a ballot.)

The Oregon Bus Project expects about 800 volunteers to canvass door-to-door this Sunday in costume before a 7 pm "Monster's Ball" that night at Northeast Portland's Wonder Ballroom. For more on costumes and civic engagement, read the rest of the Bus Project release here:


Witchcraft has been an unusually hot political topic this year, which is making the folks at Trick or Vote howl with excitement. This Halloween, the volunteers of Trick or Vote – the Oregon-originated event that has become America's largest non-partisan get-out-the-vote effort -- are putting their best (masked) faces forward to scare away 2010's negative politics with a bit of silliness and a lot of grassroots effectiveness.

On Sunday, October 31st, the Bus Project will host Trick or Vote in Portland, the national effort's biggest event. The event will draw over 800 volunteers for an action-packed get-out-the-vote effort that will be sweet as candy.

What: Trick or Vote Halloween Canvass & Trick or Vote Monster's Ball featuring the Lifesavas

When: Sunday, October 31st, 2010 – Canvass times 2:30 or 4:30pm, Trick or Voe Monster's Ball at 7pm

Where: The Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell St, Portland, OR

Cost: Monster's Ball – free for volunteers, $15 for the public.

Volunteers young and old will meet up on Halloween and knock doors, reminding people to vote. After spreading democracy, volunteers return for the Trick or Vote Monster's Ball Halloween bash to dance the night away, civic engagement style, featuring live music by Portland hip-hop sensations The Lifesavas, electro-pop rising star John Craig & Friends, and beat-droppin' DJ GenErik. A Creepy Carnival will offer fiendish food carts, ghoulish games, costume contest and, of course, some devilishly delicious drinks.

“It's the best way on the best day” says Portland Trick or Vote Director Mollie Ruskin, “In a year full of cynicism and disengagement, it's exciting to see so many people getting fired up to get their neighbors involved.”

Trick or Vote offers youth a signature mix of epic costume parties and direct community service, with proven results. In 2008, Trick or Vote volunteers knocked on over 100,000 doors in 35 cities nationwide. Statistics show that knocking on doors is the best way to increase voter turnout (8-12%, according to Yale). Any grade schooler can tell you that there is one day a year that people not only expect a knock on their door, but also greet it with candy: Halloween, which just happens to fall a few days before the election.

On top of it all, Trick or Vote is giving thousands of young people their first taste of civic engagement. A fifth of Trick or Vote volunteers surveyed in 2008 responded that it was their first political volunteer experience, and that was just days before the historic 2008 Presidential election. By tapping into the familiarity of Halloween, Trick or Vote gives young people an easy entry into civic participation.

Trick or Vote is an effort of the Bus Project Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to finding innovative ways of engaging the next generation in what it calls “hands-on democracy.” To participate in this year's Trick or Vote, please visit trickorvote.org/portland.
 
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