Ann Arbor rockers Oblivion and New York hip-hop singer J-Live, along with other politically active bands, supported yesterday’s Voice Your Vote Commission concert aimed at registering students to vote.

Paul Wong
Hip-hop artist J-Live performs at the Trotter House during the Rock the Vote rally yesterday.

The concert, held at the William Trotter House, was the culmination of a semester-long effort by the Youth Vote Coalition and The Michigan Student Assembly’s Voice Your Vote campaign to register and inform students of the voting process and register for the Nov. 5 elections.

Voice Your Vote, in conjunction with the nationally funded Youth Vote Coalition, have been actively involved with political student organizations in an effort to make registration more accessible to students.

“Half the battle is talking to someone about registering,” said Henry Rosenbaum, an organizer for the concert. A man dressed in a bear suit has been used as a device to attract students, he added.

“The best thing so far was the bear. Nobody can look at a man in a bear suit without being interested,” Rosenbaum said, who handed out registration forms on the Diag.

Voice Your Vote co-chair Brooke Gerber said students are often unaware of the election process.

“Students don’t realize how much power or important local elections are. For example, the two regent positions (are up for election). Local elections directly affect us,” Gerber said.

“Politicians don’t cater to the needs of the youth and don’t campaign youth issues. So that’s why students don’t think their vote matters,” Gerber added.

Rosenbaum said policy makers are going to be looking at how many of the 40 million young people between the ages of 18 and 25 vote.

“When the results come in next year, they will see that young people matter. We are out to prove our opinions matter,” Rosenbaum said.

LSA sophomore Adam Kelsey attended the concert because of an advertisement in his political science class.

“I was already registered but I wanted to listen to the live music. It would help (bring students in) if (the event) were a little closer to campus,” Kelsey said.

Ben Umanov, a guitarist for Oblivion, said the band was happy to support the cause.

“This is great publicity for us. It’s a free show and it’s a great cause,” Umanov said.

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