We hear it every four years: “This is the most important election of our lifetime!”
When it comes to the 2016 presidential ballot—with polarized parties debating economics, foreign affairs, race, and national security—perhaps it is. But regardless of what you think of this year’s unconventional political landscape, a new campaign in the Land of 10,000 Lakes wants to ensure Minnesotans make themselves heard in this pivotal poll.
“Last year around this time, I found myself following politics more than I ever had,” says Joe Pohlad, CEO of Go Media. “I felt the need to get involved, launching a political campaign focused on education, events, and voting.”
The result is Go Vote MN, a non-partisan campaign that encourages voters—especially the younger generation—to punch a ballot at the polls on November 8. Go Media, the company behind radio stations Go 95.3 and Go 96.3, and online news outlet BringMeTheNews, is sponsoring the program to give eligible citizens access to voter registration, and to ignite positive and engaging conversations.
According to the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, only 57.5 percent of all eligible voters voted in the 2012 presidential election. Of those voters, millennials had the lowest voter turnout of any demographic, approximately 46 percent, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center. However, 2016 marks a potential shift in political power for millennials, as the 1981 to 1998 age bracket is now a voting segment as large as the baby boomers (those born between the years of 1946 to 1964).
In order to engage young adults, Go Vote MN launched Beerocracy, a free, monthly, and non-partisan event series that partners with breweries throughout the Twin Cities. From June until the November election, people can indulge in live local bands, DJs, beer, ice cream, and can register to vote. Beerocracy launched at Modist Brewing at the end of June with the always energetic Night Moves supplying the tunes, Keith Millions fulfilling DJ duties, and Ben & Jerry’s serving up the sweets. Most recently, the second Beerocracy bash in early August paired Midwest alternative-country rock band, Silverback Colony, and DJ Mad Mardigan, the official DJ of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx.
“Everything we are doing at the Go Vote MN campaign is about trying to make it as easy and fun to find useful, interesting, and entertaining materials around engaging in politics and the community,” says Go Vote MN Campaign Director Sally Miller. “It’s no secret that the Twin Cities’ love of craft beer runs deep. By hosting our events at local taprooms, we’re bringing community together at a space where they can enjoy a pint while being civically engaged. We’re making voter registration easily accessible for our target audience and providing an entertaining experience for all.”
Reaching Minnesota millennials doesn’t stop at the beer halls though. Go Vote MN is also joining in on Go Radio events, as well as working with the Minnesota Twins and fellow partner organizations popping up during Wednesday student night games. Next up for Go Vote MN is the third Beerocracy event, this time at Bauhaus Brew Labs on September 1. Sophia Eris will be at the DJ helm with live music performed by Minneapolis-based funk and soul collective ZULUZULUU.
No matter if you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or in flat-out limbo right now, Go Vote MN isn’t focused on your political affiliation. The campaign only cares about one thing: that you vote.
“By voting for what you believe in and electing people who represent your beliefs, you play a crucial role in the decisions that are made on behalf of you and your family,” says Pohlad. “Ultimately, everyone should want to impact their own future, and voting is the only way to do that.”
To learn more about Go Vote MN, the registration process, and upcoming events, visit govotemn.com.