Rock the Vote called millennials to political action on Sept. 16 at the Ogden Amphitheater to the sound of Bob Moses and The Brocks.
“I hope it actually gets people registered,” Max Roth of Fox 13, an Ogden native and the event’s emcee, said.
As The Brocks took to the stage, Roth said, “The millennial generation is really involved in some things, all the research says very involved in community, really care about volunteering, really care about certain issues, wanting to make the world a better place, but not involved institutionally in politics – and I think that’s a problem.”
The venue was scattered with community volunteers and representatives from WSU’s Olene S. Walker Institute of Politics and Public Service encouraging new or hesitant voters to register and surveying attendees about why they were or weren’t planning to vote.
In this time of voter apprehension, of super-delegates and of suspicion of the electoral college, “The place that (millennials) votes count is locally,” Roth said. “I remember a few years back in Washington Terrace, in this area, where the mayor’s race was tied. One person shows up, and they decide who the mayor is. More often, you get local elections where they’re split by a few hundred votes or a hundred votes. One person can rally enough people to change that, so just even talking about it, being involved, it changes things.”
Backstage, as Provo locals The Brocks wrapped up their set, Vancouver alt-rock/electronic two-piece Bob Moses spoke about what playing events like Rock the Vote means.
“It feels like you’re playing for more of a cause than people just coming to get messed up,” guitarist and vocalist Tom Howie said jokingly.
“Also, I don’t think enough young kids go out and vote, so bringing more light to that is a really important thing,” Jimmy Vallance, the other half of the duo, added.
Both Vallance and Howie are Canadian born, but Vallance has obtained U.S. citizenship, and Howie is in the process. The band formed in New York and came to prominence in the United States, so they consider themselves an American band.
Howie said he hopes to be able to vote one day. “I feel like the things I strived for as a young man are more possible in America,” he said.
Vallance pointed out that many people have the attitude that their vote doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but he added that often, it’s a marginal number of votes that decides elections. When only half of the population votes in a presidential election year, a small, focused group could swing the outcome, and that’s why voting is important.
“Look at the candidates, and look what could happen,” Vallance said. “Go out and do something and help because if it goes the way you don’t want it to go, you only have yourself to blame. And not voting is a vote for the other side.”