The Defender (St. Michael’s College)
October 26, 2010
By Gerhard Meyer
With a statewide election year in full swing, a new St. Michael’s student group, Democracy Matters, is putting on an event that promises to spice up politics.
On Nov. 1 in Eddie’s Lounge, Democracy Matters will host the first official Rock the Vote; an event combining live music and politics.
Democracy Matters is led by senior political science major Mae Quilty, who is currently an intern for the program.
“Democracy Matters is a non-partisan, student-based, national organization that focuses on getting money out of politics and people back in,” Quilty said.
As the founder of the St. Michael’s group, Quilty is in charge of planning events like Rock the Vote.
“Rock the Vote, as a national organization, is choosing to use music as a way of getting the word out about voting,” Quilty said. “It doesn’t have to mean that the lyrics are about voting, but just a way of tying together music and democracy and using that as a way to encourage people to come out.”
Junior Nicki Ainsworth, a political science major, said she believes that the combination of music and politics works well in a college setting.
“For young people stuff like that is definitely a good idea,” Ainsworth said.
The concert will be free and open to everyone, she said. There are some acts already scheduled, but the group is still welcoming other musicians.
“I expect to have a blast performing, and I’m anticipating a huge turnout at the Rock the Vote concert,” said junior Caley Gervais, who will be playing at the event.
Gervais plays acoustic guitar, and plans on performing some folk and indie favorites.
The event is scheduled to go until 9:30 p.m., but Quilty is considering opening up the stage to anyone if the crowd stays longer.
“There’s going to be little bits of educational information in between the bands, but it’s mostly just to have a good time and to remember how important the democratic process is,” she said.
Quilty said there will be no political pressures at the event.
“It’s all about voting. It doesn’t matter who you’re voting for, it doesn’t matter what political party you support, it’s totally a non-partisan event,” Quilty said. “It is about encouraging people to understand that every single vote counts, and that especially at this age, we need to be involved in formulating our future and the future leaders of our country.”
The group will be putting out basic information on the positions of each candidate, with no preferences. There will be a poster at the event on which participants are encouraged to sign their name as a pledge to vote the next day.
Since Democracy Matters is a national group, the Rock the Vote schedule can be accessed through the events page online at rockthevote.org.