Following a May primary that saw just 17 percent of registered voters participate, including only 4 percent of voters between the ages of 18 and 35, The New Tri-State Defender (TSD) and Social Change with a Twist (SCWT) decided to collaborate to produce a unique platform for voter engagement.
Making use of social media reach and engagement, #901Choice2014 (hashtag901Choice2014) is designed to touch younger potential voters and to attract them to at least tune in via social media platforms, if not attend the actual candidates’ forum.
The live political forum, which will include candidates from local, state and federal elections, is set for Thursday (July 10th) for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Visible Music College at 200 Madison Ave.
“The concept is to have a robust flow of tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram posts and others during the entire event, sharing the comments, brief candidate presentations and more importantly allowing for questions to come from the social media audiences to the candidates,” said Rhonnie Brewer of SCWT.
“We really want to engage the younger people that are looking for a reason to vote for someone but to this point haven’t had a point of engagement that resonated with them.”
Bernal E. Smith II, President and Publisher of TSD, called the collaboration exciting.
“It is important for us to provide a platform by which candidates get their message out, but even more important to reach and engage the voters and younger audiences that seem to have tuned out of the voting process. This is extremely important as we reach the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”
Smith also shared his outlook for the event.
“We are excited about the August response from the candidates to participate in the forum (and) are hoping for an equally dynamic participation from potential voters both in person and online,” he said. “We have a DJ, on-air personalities and free food, all to create a unique atmosphere targeting non-traditional voters.”
Brewer summed up the upcoming event this way:
“We really want the 18- to 35-year-old demographic to challenge these candidates whether they come out to the event or simply participate online from the comfort of their smartphones. This is their opportunity.”
Admission is free, with free food also on the menu.