Smackdown Your Vote! Kicks off National Campaign with Promotion of High School Voter Registration Month
Connecticut Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz joined WWE Superstar and Olympic gold medallist Kurt Angle, Honorary Chairman of Smackdown Your Vote!, in a tag-team rally at Hartford Public High School. Joining them were two other WWE Superstars - Ivory and Bradshaw. Their message was simple: young people should let their voices be heard by exercising their right to vote by registering and smacking down their votes in November.
Smackdown Your Vote! is an initiative of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), the National Foundation for Women Legislators, the Youth Vote Coalition, Youth-e-Vote, Project Vote Smart and WWE Entertainment, Inc.
"The distrust and cynicism toward politics and government among young people represents a trend that must be challenged," Bysiewicz said. "With only 20 percent of 20-year-olds voting and 80 percent of 80-year-olds voting, there is a real cause for concern.
"Young people have the ideas and the enthusiasm needed to preserve the freedoms we enjoy in this country," she added.
Smackdown Your Vote! was created during the 2000 presidential campaign and registered more than 150,000 young people around the country in a little more than two months.
"Last year's presidential election underscored the fact that every vote counts," said Angle. "Every day government makes decisions about our lives. The one time we truly have a say is when we vote in national, state and local elections. However, to exercise your right to vote, first you've got to register to vote."
Hartford's Registrars of Voters and the Connecticut Secretary of State's Office staffed voter registration tables at today's student rally. Voter registration tables also will be set up by volunteers from the Youth Vote Coalition at tonight's WWE Smackdown! event at the Hartford Civic Center.
Smackdown Your Vote! is planning similar rallies and voter registration activities in May and early June in Cincinnati, Ohio; Louisville, Ky.; San Jose, Calif.; Anaheim, Calif.; and Minneapolis, Minn.
As part of the effort in May, television and radio public service announcements featuring Angle will also be distributed to various media outlets across the United States.
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Larry Perosino, Connecticut Secretary of the State's office, 860 509-6259
Kay Albowicz, National Association for Secretaries of State, 202 624-3525
Judd Everhart, WWE Entertainment, Inc., 203 406-3620
Nora Yannuzzi, APCO Associates, Washington, DC, 202 778-1066
Jackie Hardy, Hartford Public High School, 860 297-8409
SMACKDOWN YOUR VOTE! PARTNERS
Founded in August 2000, Smackdown Your Vote! is a partnership of organizations taking a non-partisan approach to getting young people involved in the political process and registered to vote. The members of Smackdown Your Vote! are:
The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), founded in 1904, is the nation's oldest non-partisan government association, representing the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Virgin Islands.
The National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) provides strategic resources to elected women for leadership development and effective government through conferences, seminars, policy committees, issue-education materials, professional and personal relationships, and networking at both the state and federal levels. As a non-profit, the NFWL does not take ideological positions on any current issue, but rather exists to assist women leaders in the process of legislative debate, networking, re-elections, public opinion molding and leadership.
Project Vote Smart was founded by former Presidents Ford and Carter and other national leaders as a non-profit, non-partisan research library. Access to the Project's data is available through the Vote Smart web site (www.vote-smart.org) and the toll-free Voter's Research Hotline (888-VOTE SMART), staffed by student interns and volunteers.
Youth-e-Vote is a national campaign to increase the involvement and awareness of young Americans in the political process. Youth-e-Vote is a national coalition of educators, youth groups and technology specialists devoted to making future voters of today's students by promoting civics education in American classrooms. The coalition also provides a risk-free test of online voting, helps to close the Digital Divide, and inspires parents to vote. It is the first national registration and online voting project in American history.
Youth Vote Coalition is the largest, most diverse, non-partisan coalition in history to engage young people, ages 18-30, in politics. The Youth Vote Coalition consists of more than 75 national organizations representing hundreds of groups and millions of young people. The Youth Vote Coalition calls for youth debates at the presidential, state and local levels. It devotes an unprecedented amount of resources to building state and local Youth Vote Coalitions. The Youth Vote Coalition was formerly known as Youth Vote 2000.
WWE Entertainment, Inc. is an integrated media and entertainment company headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, with sale offices in New York City, Chicago and Toronto. The company can be found on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WWE and online at WWE.com and WWECORPBIZ.com.