Vincent Heartbreak Tucker (VHT): Register To Speak Out! is a non-partisan voter registration campaign based in Dallas, Texas that I launched in February 2008. Following the path of Rock the Vote & Diddy’s “Vote or Die”, Register to Speak Out! increases voter participation amongst North Texans (and the nation) by using music & entertainment to make voting relevant. Through our voter registration drives and get-out-the-vote events, we give young people the tools to identify, explore and take actions on issues that affect our futures.
BL: What initially encouraged you guys to get involved with voting and, going a step further, getting your peers registered to vote?
VHT: Diddy’s Vote or Die campaign in 2004 is what inspired me to create Register To Speak Out! in 2008. I really look up to Diddy and the Vote or Die campaign made the political process cool for me and made me want to vote. I figured that I would use a similar blueprint and use urban entertainment to influence my fellow young people in North Texas and around the nation.
BL: How does a person get registered to vote? Is it free? Can just anyone get registered to vote?
VHT: Yes, It is free to vote. You actually would be surprised how many first time voters think that there may be a fee attached to voting. Registering to vote is extremely easy. To register to vote, all you have to do is visit our website RegisterToSpeakOut.org. Upon entering the website, along the left side of the site, you click on “Register To Vote”, fill out the voting widget courtesy of Rock The Vote and following the preceding directions.
BL: Does Christian faith play into voting or are they totally separate from one another?
VHT: I think that is a wonderful question. The way the government is set up, it’s supposed to be a separation of Church & State when it comes to decisions. When it comes to voting though especially on key topics or issues like “Same Sex Marriages” or “Abortion”, I think it’s hard for someone to not factor in faith when it comes to topics like that. I’ve only been a part of two presidential elections thus far (2004, 2008) so none of the key issues at hand really affected my faith. Something says with President Obama’s support of Same Sex Marriage and Mitt Romney’s strong opposition to it, faith will play a part in how many Americans vote in the upcoming election.
BL: Voting results are rarely decided by one vote. What do you say to those who feel their vote doesn’t make a real difference?
VHT: If everyone felt that way, then it would defeat the purpose of the founding fathers of this land who wanted to establish a democracy and to give the power to the people. If you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice and you can’t complain about any of the issues affecting you personally, locally, regionally or nationally. If you can’t take out the time to vote for someone that supports your views, you can’t speak out.
BL: Are these types of campaigns really all that successful? What kind of response have you seen from those in your communities?
VHT: Yes, this is our second time around that we’ve done the Register to Speak Out campaign as we originally introduced it in May 2008. We partnered with Rock the Vote and helped with their 2 million new registered voters campaign. The community has been totally supportive of our initiative this time as well the media outlets in North Texas.
BL: How does a person transplant what you all are doing into their own community?
VHT: Contact my team at our website and we can get it rolling from there!
BL: What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to find out more about voting or political process?
VHT: Our website, www.RegisterToSpeakOut.org, is a great place to find more information about voting and/or the political process!