It’s the second Tuesday in November, which means that today is one of the most important days of the year for the American political system: Election Day. While they won’t be deciding higher-level offices like last year’s Presidential election or next year’s Congressional mid-terms, there is still a lot at stake in this year’s elections. Dozens of states are selecting their local representatives–from city officials to state governors–and several are holding special elections to replace elected officials who found new homes in appointed positions within the Trump administration.
As always, our friends at voter registration non-profit HeadCount are hard at work making sure every person’s voice is heard, and they’re asking for the music community at large to help spread awareness of today’s elections. In a statement, HeadCount Co-Founder and Executive Director Andy Bernstein invited everyone remind their networks: “If you’d like to help spread the word about the local elections today, please make a post on social media using the hashtag #VoteLocal along with one of these reminder graphics (see below). Local elections generally get a low voter turnout, but this year, thousands of first-time candidates are running. This is where change happens, in our own communities! So please make some #VoteLocal social media posts today.”
Ahead of today’s elections, we spoke to Bernstein further about what’s at stake today and the philosophy that fuels HeadCount’s voter encouragement initiatives. “The whole idea behind HeadCount is that the live music community can make a huge difference.” Andy explains, “So today is a day we can prove that. We’ve created a Utopian universe for ourselves when it comes to music. Why can’t it go beyond music? Imagine if everyone who went to a “Baker’s Dozen” show voted. Or everyone who went to Newport Folk Fest or Okeechobee or Dead & Company [shows]. If all of us do our part, the world starts to look and feel a little more like the world we want it to be.”
Live For Live Music: Which elections being held today do you see as being the most important or impactful?
Andy Bernstein: Well, for most of us it’s whatever election is happening in your hometown. [Disco Biscuits keyboardist] Aron Magner mentioned to me yesterday that the Upper Merion, PA school district election has huge ramifications. But on a national level, it’s probably the Virginia gubernatorial election. Hillary Clinton carried that state by a comfortable margin [in 2016]. But the Republican candidate, the former head of the party Ed Gillespie has been surging [against current VA Lt. Governor and heavily-favored Democratic candidate Ralph Northam], and if he wins it will send shock waves around the country. It will show that Trump-brand populism is a winning formula against establishment Democrats.
Learn more about the VA gubernatorial race with this video below via the Associated Press:
L4LM: Aside from the social media push to encourage local voters, what else can people do to get involved with local politics/spread the word to get out and vote?
Bernstein: Voter turnout is typically very low in these local elections. So if you can get even one friend to come out, you’ve made a big difference. So get out there, get your “I Voted” sticker, and try to get some friends to do the same…
You can visit HeadCount’s election info page to find out the location of your official polling place and see what’s on the ballot today where you live.
Below are HeadCount’s #VoteLocal reminder graphics to share on social media today. Let’s make sure everyone gets out to the polls and makes their opinions heard today!