Before the end of early voting in North Carolina, UNC Young Democrats organized a “Music Meets Voting” live concert event on Friday, Nov. 4, to encourage students to enjoy live music and, ultimately, vote.
Young Democrats, UNC’s College Democrats chapter, seeks to drive progressive change on campus by organizing voter registration, education and outreach to increase student vote turnout and ensure that students feel empowered and heard in the political process, Megan Wagner, Young Democrats president said.
She said the concert featured varying types of music, from a DJ to an acoustic duo, to encourage voter turnout and help people understand that voting can be a fun, community-wide experience.
“It's really important to get students out to vote, and it's a lot more fun when there's music and cookies,” Wagner said.
Theodore White, the vice president of Young Democrats, said free food and music has always been a significant pull to attract students on campus, especially live music from a variety of genres.
He said that a concert with free food made sense for a last minute get-out-the-vote activity, as the day after the concert was the last day of early voting.
“Everyone is getting inundated with voting messages all the time and they kind of just become background chatter that they don't notice,” Wagner said. “And so, I think giving people an extra push to get to the polls will increase turnout.”
Judge Lucy Inman, who is currently running for an open seat on the N.C. Supreme Court, spoke at the concert.
“I want to make sure that the justice who succeeds Justice Hudson considers every case fairly and impartially, follows the law and brings no partisan agenda to the courts,” Inman said.
She said that college student voting groups, like Young Democrats, are essential to engaging and mobilizing college students.
Events like the concert are especially motivating because music is universal and it’s something that people can experience together or experience alone, Inman said.
Another speaker at the concert was S.E. Ward, a queer, non-binary, first-generation American musician. Before their guitar set, Ward shared why voting is important to them and their partner, who is a public school educator and is transgender.
“In our house, it is super important to us to make sure that we are fighting for and electing politicians who we know will fight for us,” Ward said.
Wagner said she has been really impressed with the work that her and fellow club members have been doing so far and is excited to see where that momentum leads college students in 2024 and beyond.
“Our courts affect every aspect of our lives and many college students are in the first years of their lives living independently of their families, learning so much about life,” Inman said. “Politics and government and courts might seem remote and abstract, but if you want to protect your rights, if you want to have a say, the most powerful tool you have is your right to vote.”
Students and community members can vote on Tuesday at several locations around campus and Chapel Hill.
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