Headcount: Stand up and be counted in the presidential election!

Isn’t it exciting? No matter how you’re casting your vote in
the presidential primaries, or even if you’re just an avid spectator, it’s
impossible to deny that the current election season has been one of the most
sensational in recent history.

The field has been narrowed to three candidates following
last night’s four contests in Vermont, Rhode Island, Texas, and Ohio. Former
Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee conceded victory to John McCain after the
Arizona Senator won enough delegate votes to secure the Republican endorsement.
While the race may be over for the Republicans, the plot has thickened in the
bid for the Democratic nomination. After losing eleven straight primaries,
Hillary Clinton won both Texas and Ohio and is being touted
as “the Comeback Kid” (and every
other manner of pun, allusion, and alliterative phrase the pundits can dream
up). Of course, as Obama’s camp is quick to point out, it’s still an uphill
battle to win the final delegate count. But don’t underestimate the power of momentum. Add to the mix the
as-yet-untallied results of the “Texas Two-step” caucuses and those “Super
Delegates,” and you’ve got a bona fide nail-biter.

“What?!” you may exclaim.  It’s as confusing as it is exciting. Luckily,
there are plenty of resources available online to help make sense of the myriad
state electoral systems and swiftly-shifting political dynamics. I identified a
few of these in a January post. My
favorite remains NPR’s interactive
election map

I recently discovered another great site called Headcount.org from a representative at
the ISSA conference. Headcount is a
non-profit, “non-partisan organization devoted to using the multi-faceted power
of music to enable voter registration and participation in democracy.”
Headcount works with artists to inspire live music fans, particularly young
people, toward social and political activism. Check out Headcount.org’s many
resources including a schedule of
politically-oriented concerts and events
, polling places locator and an embeddable “Register to Vote” widget. We all recognize the power of music to
inspire (see my recent post on the New
York Philharmonic in North Korea
). Consider this: How does each candidate make an entrance at a rally or celebrate a victory? With carefully selected music, of course! Most campaigns
even choose a theme song. Kudos to Headcount for recognizing the intersection of music and politics and and using it to mobilize a captive audience.

So I hope you feel inspired! Now, more than ever, it’s
critical to get involved and participate in the political process. It’s geographic, in fact, to exercise your
civic rights: Governments play a dramatic role in shaping our social, economic,
physical, and cultural environments at every scale. In a representative
government, that means YOU impact your community through elected officials, in
addition to your individual activities. Even if you’re not eligible to vote,
it’s important to understand the surrounding world and the current events that
define it. So get educated! We encourage all young and old to follow along as
the country votes, and, if eligible, pick up a ballot.

Sarah for My Wonderful World

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