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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

For Immediate Release Monday, October 18, 2010

Contact: Rachele Huennekens, (703) 470-2454  

Sierra Student Coalition and 'ReEnergize the Vote' Incite Youth to Vote Early in Six Key States

On Monday, October 18, 'ReEnergize the Vote'-- the national nonpartisan youth voter mobilization campaign of the Sierra Student Coalition and other student organizations – began efforts to encourage young people to vote early.   As part of the campaign’s efforts to increase the turnout of young people in Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas in the upcoming elections, ReEnergize the Vote organizers and volunteers began educating tens of thousands of young people about their state's Early Voting options.

"We’re greasing the wheels for young people to get involved in the civic process by encouraging them to vote early," said Liana Lopez, ReEnergize the Vote organizer in Houston.  "We’re telling them about the nearest polling locations and getting their friends on-board."

Beginning today, four of the six states where ReEnergize the Vote is active -- Colorado, Nevada, Texas, and Ohio -- allow in-person early voting. In Oregon, all voters vote by mail, and ballots start arriving in mailboxes 14-18 days before Election Day. Pennsylvania does not allow early voting.

Early voting has become increasingly popular in recent years, as many states have rescinded rules that required excuses for absentee voting. A USA Today report showed that fifty percent more American voters cast their ballots early in this year’s primary elections compared to the midterm primaries in 2006.

"Early voting is a huge benefit for college students like me, who are busy with midterm exams, papers and work on Election Day," said Andrea Rooney, a ReEnergize the Vote volunteer at Colorado State University.  "Early voting is opening the door to young people to participate in these crucial elections."

Across the nation, ReEnergize the Vote is utilizing creative organizing tactics on college campuses, such as visibility events, 'dorm storm' canvasses, phone banks and collection of more than 45,000 Pledges to Vote.  At the University of Nevada at Reno, ReEnergize the Vote is leading a "Pedaling to the Polls" event that will organize young voters to go to an early voting location on roller blades, bicycles, skateboards and in pedi-cabs.  At University of Nevada at Las Vegas, ReEnergize the Vote will be holding a kite-flying event to increase visibility and awareness of the state’s early voting option, and partnering with campus Greek life (fraternities and sororities) to hold a rally and march to the polls.  At the University of Houston, Texas, ReEnergize the Vote organizers will be directing students to student government shuttles and public transportation to polling places, and holding an "Early Vote Stampede" event.  In Austin, Texas, ReEnergize the Vote will be holding an Early Vote kickoff event with local bands at St. Edwards University, and encouraging University of Texas students to vote early at an on-campus polling location.  

In Ft. Collins, Colorado, ReEnergize the Vote, working in coalition with Rock the Vote, and New Era Colorado, will cover the sidewalks on Colorado State University's campus with giant chalk messages letting students know that early voting has begun, and broadcast messages about early voting on CSU’s radio station. Also at CSU Fort Collins, ReEnergize the Vote will be hosting an event in front of the Student Center with a large bus from the group New Era Colorado and several bands playing on top of the bus!  In Portland, Oregon, ReEnergize the Vote is working with the Student Vote Coalition, including the Oregon Students Association, to encourage young voters to file absentee ballots by mail, early.

Nationwide, ReEnergize the Vote’s get-out-the-vote (GOTV) effort is using customized text messages, online tools, and other cutting-edge technology to encourage young people to vote early, give directions to the nearest polling locations, and disseminate information about Election Day. 

In the final four days before November 2, ReEnergize the Vote will culminate with a surge of GOTV activity aimed at encouraging young people to vote on Election Day.

Before state voter registration deadlines, the ReEnergize the Vote campaign registered more than 27,000 young voters on 25 campuses who either voted for the first time in 2008 or will vote for the first time in 2010.

For more information about ReEnergize the Vote, please visit: www.reenergizethevote.org/

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