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Friday, November 16, 2007

Dave Matthews Band Voter Registration: So Begins Another Inane 'Rock the Vote' Season

Posted By on Fri, Nov 16, 2007 at 12:04 PM

click to enlarge davematthews.jpg

In a choice between voting, and dying for 12 months and never

having to hear an idiot musician tell me to "Vote or Die," I take

death. Liberty should mean not having to listen to this stupid crap:

HeadCount, the volunteer-run voter registration organization that registered nearly 50,000 voters in 2004 through alliances with Dave Matthews Band and other artists, has announced an ambitious plan to stage voter registration drives at more than 500 concerts over the next year, with a goal of registering 200,000 new voters.

HeadCount will be the only national organization to stage voter registration at

concerts on a large scale in 2008, employing registration methods it has tested

and perfected over the last three years.

Virginia McEnerney, the former Vice President of Corporate Relations at Time Warner Inc., has been named the first full-time executive director of the non-profit organization, which to this point had been run entirely by volunteers. Dave Matthews Band, the Allman Brothers Band, and members of Phish and the Grateful Dead continue to be aligned with HeadCount, along with new

artists such as O.A.R.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

HEADCOUNT PLANS TO REGISTER UP TO 200,000 NEW VOTERS THROUGH LIVE CONCERTS

Former Time Warner Executive Joins Forces with Artists, Volunteers to Lead Young

Organization

NEW YORK, NY -- November 6, 2007 - HeadCount, the volunteer-run voter

registration organization that registered nearly 50,000 voters in 2004 through

alliances with Dave Matthews Band and other artists, has announced an ambitious

plan to stage voter registration drives at more than 500 concerts over the next

year, with a goal of registering 200,000 new voters.

HeadCount will be the only national organization to stage voter registration at

concerts on a large scale in 2008, employing registration methods it has tested

and perfected over the last three years.

Virginia McEnerney, the former Vice President of Corporate Relations at Time

Warner Inc., has been named the first full-time executive director of the

non-profit organization, which to this point had been run entirely by

volunteers. Dave Matthews Band, the Allman Brothers Band, and members of Phish

and the Grateful Dead continue to be aligned with HeadCount, along with new

artists such as O.A.R.

“What HeadCount has accomplished to this point is nothing short of remarkable,”

said McEnerney, who spent 10 years with Time Warner before leaving the company

in 2005 to become an independent consultant to non-profit organizations. “I

believe we are poised to step from being an entirely grassroots operation, to

becoming a nationwide force and spreading participation in democracy to an even

broader audience.”

HeadCount is using the occasion of Election Day to announce details of its 2008

strategic plan and make a call for volunteers to join the street teams that

register voters at concerts.

Volunteers can sign up at www.headcount.org. For the first time, some will be

eligible for modest, performance-based stipends, marking another important step

in HeadCount’s evolution.

The volunteer network will form street teams in approximately 50 U.S. cities,

each working with affiliated bands and promoters to set up voter registration

tables at concerts. The organization will also send volunteers on the road with

major artists, an approach that helped register over 12,000 new voters on the

Dave Matthews Band tour in 2004 – an all-time record for a single concert tour.

In addition, HeadCount has invested in state-of-the-art voter registration

software and expects to register tens of thousands of voters through

www.headcount.org. This activity will be buttressed by extensive

“get-out-the-vote” activity, working directly with artists to encourage people

of all ages to head to the polls in 2008.

“If we don’t protect democracy today, there won’t be a democracy to protect in a

few years,” said former Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir, a member of

HeadCount’s board of directors. “I think for the younger folks this is

particularly important, because the decisions we make will largely affect the

rest of their lives.”

HeadCount not only gives people the opportunity to register to vote, it offers

thousands of young music fans a taste of activism. Volunteers receive intensive

training in voter registration guidelines and practices, and get hands-on

experience on community organizing.

Marc Brownstein, bass player for the popular electronic rock band The Disco

Biscuits, continues to serve as HeadCount’s co-chair.

“This was something we started as a dream, just a crazy idea that we believed we

could pull off,” said Brownstein, who founded the organization along with

longtime friend Andy Bernstein, author of a series of books about the group

Phish. “Now it’s almost four years later, and we are in it for the long-term. We

hope HeadCount leaves a permanent imprint on the live music community, forever

getting fans more engaged in the political system and democracy itself.”

# # #

View a short video profile of HeadCount at www.headcount.org or

http://youtube.com/watch?v=pmJtLZVxTfQ. Features interviews with Bob Weir, Bela

Fleck and many other top artists.

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Oscar Pascual

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