Rock the Vote rally is today |

Rock the Vote rally is today

ASPEN In an effort to rouse local youth vote into casting ballots in Tuesday’s municipal election, organizers will hold a “Rock the Vote/Get Out the Vote” rally in Aspen from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday.The rally is to take place at Cooper Avenue and Galena Street, at the eastern end of the Cooper Avenue mall, across from Paradise Bakery.It will feature music by two bands – Friendly Dictators and Carlos Has Two Options – as well as talks by local political candidates and activists.The Aspen High School Youth Council is helping with the event, said organizer Tricia McKenzie, who has been working on it for weeks but actually will be out of town when the rally takes place.A large part of the Youth Council’s help will be in seeking contributions to pay the costs of videotaping the rally for later broadcast over GrassRoots TV Channel 12, said Andy MacCracken, the Aspen High School student who will be in charge of things in her absence.MacCracken, 18, has been involved in Rock the Vote efforts in prior elections, most recently in putting together a campaign event for state Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, shortly before the November 2006 election. He said that in preparation for that election, Rock the Vote signed up “some 800 registered new voters” in the valley, mostly young people.”I think it’s a great organization,” he said. “The most basic right we have is the right to vote in a democracy.”A senior who is headed to American University in Washington, D.C., next fall, MacCracken will be studying political science in the School of Public Affairs. He said he was one of the first in his class to reach voting age and to vote but that many of his classmates and friends are politically aware and active.”We definitely have people excited about voting,” he said, even though most are not yet up to becoming political activists on a more involved level.McKenzie, who has been working with Rock the Vote for several years, said she does not feel today’s youth are “self-absorbed and materialistic” in ways media accounts often portray.”The Echo Boomers, 80 million-plus born 1980 to 1995, will be the largest generation our country has ever known,” she wrote in a message about the upcoming rally, quoting historian Neil Howe as saying this generation is “more interested in building things up than tearing them down.”John Colson’s e-mail address is

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