Today Rock the Vote, the country’s largest non-partisan voter registration organization, launched a multi-tiered campaign featuring new registration technologies, research, and education initiatives to encourage millions of young Americans to vote in the 2012 elections. At a time when new state voting restrictions threaten the ability of young and first-time voters to cast a ballot this November, Rock the Vote will partner with national and community organizations, technology companies, college campuses and artists to register 1.5 million voters and strive to fuel increased youth turnout for the third presidential election in a row.

“The 2012 elections have increasingly zeroed-in on issues that affect young people like education and jobs, which is an indication of just how important their votes are,” said Heather Smith, president of Rock the Vote. “Research shows that a person is more likely to vote throughout their lives if they register as soon as they’re eligible, so getting people involved now has life-long implications. As the largest non-partisan voter registration organization in the country, we’re helping to engage young people as soon as they turn 18. We’re using technology like never before to engage young people in our democracy. We’re helping them register online and giving them the information they need to make their voices heard. We’re confident that once again young people will be a decisive voice in the presidential election – and help ensure a robust and lively democracy that is important to all generations,” said Smith.

News reports have indicated that restrictive new voter laws – on voter registration, early voting, voter ID, and residency requirements – may be limiting new registrations and participation compared to four years ago. In fact, the Brennan Center for Justice has estimated that such laws could make it harder for up to five million people to vote this November – especially young, minority and elderly citizens.

“Over the past year there has been an unprecedented attack on the ability of young people to exercise their right to vote,” continued Smith. “But in 2012, Millennials will make up nearly one quarter of the entire electorate. The significant role young people have played in recent elections and will play in this one is undeniable.”

Rock the Vote’s national campaign will mobilize millions of young voters to ensure their voices count on Election Day. The campaign will include the following:

Social Media and New Technology:

  • New mobile applications and online voter registration technologies will engage young people and give them the tools to make registering and voting easier. Partners using and promoting this technology include media organizations including MTV and Comcast; non-profit organizations including HeadCount, ColorOfChange, Student PIRGs and Hip Hop Caucus; celebrities and artists and many more.
  • A mobile campaign allows anyone texting “vote” (“or vota” in Spanish) to RTVOTE (788683) to automatically receive voter registration and Election Day reminders, political quizzes, polls, celebrity messages, and mobilization alerts all designed to help fuel this movement of young people all the way to the ballot box in November.
  • “Scan to Vote” powered by Promo Jam, includes QR codes found on everything from merchandise hangtags and t-shirts to Rock the Vote’s 2012 wall calendar and school supply line, providing easy access to voter registration forms.

Music and Celebrities:

  • Rock the Vote’s 2012 Ambassadors including Christina Aguilera, Maroon 5, Nas, Perez Hilton, DJ Skee, Keri Hilson, Asher Roth, Kat Graham, Good Charlotte, Darren Criss, Michael Franti, Jason Derulo, Far East Movement, Santigold, Ke$ha and many more will work to reinvigorate the excitement among young people to take action at the polls.
  • Radio Rocks the Vote, a national effort to engage radio stations in providing information to young Americans about voter registration deadlines, through public service announcements with details about the upcoming election and “count-downs” until Election Day where young people can begin to educate themselves about the candidates and what’s on their ballots.
  • A new “Spin the Vote” initiative at electronic dance music festivals across the country in partnership with Insomniac Events, focused on registering thousands of electronic dance music fans.
  • This fall Rock the Vote’s legendary “Road Trip” tour will visit targeted cities across the country with artist ambassadors and celebrities hosting events on college campuses and in high school classrooms, ensuring that young people are equipped with the information they need to cast their ballots.


  • This summer, Rock the Vote will conduct a new poll on the youth vote and the 2012 presidential election. The poll will identify the key issues for young voters and examine whether the restrictive laws across the country could impact turnout among Millennials.
  • A State Voting System Scorecard will also be released that measures state laws and policies and their effects on voter registration, casting a ballot and young voter preparation, while laying out a roadmap for an upgraded voting system.


  • Over the past few months, students at over 3,000 high schools across the country have been participating in Democracy Class –a one-class-period lesson plan that uses music and popular culture to teach young people how to navigate the elections process and register to vote. Rock the Vote Ambassadors will be taking part in the classes in the fall and helping to send the message about the importance of voting in this election.
  • Online voting resources at will be complimented by on-the-ground education efforts as well as poll-watching to make sure eligible young people are able to vote on Election Day.

Voter Mobilization:

  • Student volunteers will lead Rock the Vote community street teams at the largest universities in dozens of states and will register voters at festivals, sporting events and community gatherings, and ensure their fellow students turn out to vote.
  • Rock the Vote will send first-time voters to the RNC and DNC Conventions and host major visibility events showing the power of the youth vote in 2012.
  • At festivals, concerts, sporting and community events, Rock the Vote will ask attendees to take the “Don’t Block My Vote” pledge to cast their ballots on November 6.
  • For the first time in its history, Rock the Vote is launching an initiative aimed at increasing turnout among underserved communities in the Southwest. In the months leading up to the election, field staff in Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada will work with local organizations and radio stations, as well as attend the Gathering of Nations and other festivals to provide information and increase voter registration and turnout among Latino and Native American youth.

About Rock the Vote |

Rock the Vote’s mission is to engage and build political power for young people in our country. Using music, popular culture, new technologies and grassroots organizing for more than 20 years, Rock the Vote has registered more than 5 million young people, including a record- shattering 2.5 million registration downloads in the historic 2008 election. As the tidal wave of Millennial generation voters continues to establish its power at the polls, Rock the Vote will register millions more young people and make their voices heard.