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Young voters were a key constituent group in the 2008 presidential election, and they may yet play a key role in not just the presidential race, but also in state and local elections.

To protect the right to vote, students from Shaw University, St. Augustine’s College and N.C. State will speak out at the General Assembly today at 1 pm against voter suppression through stringent Voter ID laws.

Meanwhile, a separate effort by The Student Engagement and Empowerment Network (SEEN), a network of historically Black colleges and universities in North Carolina, aims to draw out young voters during the early voting period leading up to election day on May 8.

For this campaign, SEEN is partnering with N.C. spoken word and hip hop artists to produce videos and performances, engaging the youth in awareness of and participation in the state and local politics.

Check out this video featuring spoken artist Poet.She:

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Click here for more information on SEEN’s efforts.

New district lines and split precincts can lead to confusion at the polls as early voting begins today. But three non-partisan organizations have teamed-up and launched a  special hotline to answer questions from voters throughout the primary election period.

The toll-free hotline is 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683).

It will be operated by a public service program at the UNC School of Law in Chapel Hill, the voting-rights group Democracy North Carolina, and the national Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, headquartered in Washington, DC.

Here’s more from the groups’ press release: Read More

Cross-posted from the NC Conservation Network blog 

During my lunch break today, I headed over to my local precinct to do my civic duty (you know, vote). The street as I walked up was deserted, the fire station void of any life except for the fabulous poll workers (thank you!)

Out of curiosity, I asked the gentleman in charge of the ballots how many folks had voted already. (Now keep in mind the polls had been open for over 6 hours by the time I showed up.) He said, "Ma'am, you're our afternoon rush. You're the eleventh person to vote here today."

Hearing about this low turn-out, I started thinking about the voting process. Do people not know about these smaller elections (I had almost forgotten myself)? Or do they not care? What makes people vote or not vote? What are the best ways to get voters out to the polls at lower-profile elections? Would more people vote if the voting system was set-up differently?

And please, if you haven't voted, you don't get to complain about decision-makers. The next time a non-voter starts griping about a certain person in charge, I'm going to hand them this fine sticker:

shouldve_voted