This week, I had the opportunity of meeting Chrissy Fassen from the Rock the Vote! For me, this is the highlight of my trip to the USA; meeting someone who has been involved in a campaign to get people registered and get them to vote; something we are trying to replicate in Ghana with Ghana Decides. We recently run a campaign called #iRegistered to get people to voluntarily go register and share their experiences. That went pretty well and we are going to run another towards December to get people to go out and vote.
If you don’t know about Rock the Vote, they have been around as long as the 4th Republic has been. It’s in its 21st year and they run campaigns targeted at people between 18 and 29. It is the largest single non-political voter registrant in the USA, engaging people and giving them the information they need to register.
I first heard about Rock the Vote around the time P. Diddy put out that Vote or Die song and since we started the Ghana Decides project, I have been looking at their Website and social media for inspiration. Usually when I talk to people especially those who have lived or visited or know about USA politics about Ghana Decides, they always say ‘Are you trying to do something similar to Rock the Vote or Vote or Die?’. My answer: similar cause; different sides of the world.
Apart from increasing youth participation in the electoral process in Ghana, we (Ghana Decides) also try to reach socially excluded groups; women, prisoners and the physically challenged. It is not only about getting them to register but also getting them on social media; giving them a voice.
Chrissy shared some interesting strategies with us and a lot of these will come handy when we start our campaign to get people to vote. Some of the take-aways will be getting people to sign pledge cards and doing follow ups on election eve and election day. I am pretty excited to see how that will go. Rock the Vote is also huge on social media and on whether social media would be crucial as it was in 2008, Chrissy said ‘social media can outweigh every dollar spent’ and ‘it would be even more…. especially considering how Facebook and Twitter has evolved over the last 4 years.’
It has been a while since I wrote here. The Glo post doesn’t count. It was just a quick post to answer all the questions that were coming at me on twitter. I have been quite busy with a lot stuff, the best of which is an election project I am involved in.
For the past 40 days, we have all been involved and witnessed the biometric voter registration. I will cut the chase and say the exercise in my opinion was successful and peaceful despite the few incidents notable the clashes in Odododiodio and Kennedy Agyapong’s arrest.
A lot of these could have been avoided if the Police was more vigilant and the political parties had a real control over their supporters.
I travelled to my hometown of Sunyani to register in the first phase. My polling centre, Ridge Experimental School as I expected, had no applicants at the time of my application. It allow for time to interact with the registration officers and take some pictures. I also got to understand how authentication of the device was done and how they back up data. The party agents from the NPP & NDC, although looked hungry were calm and didn’t ask any questions.
One thing which make the 40-day period worthwhile and I am not being bias here, was the #iRegistered tweets and comments. #iRegistered is a campaign which Ghana Decides run aggressively during the registration period to get people to register and share their experiences. It was interesting all the comments and reports which came in. Occasionally, people would tweet at the Ghana Decides twitter account.
So, if you’re reading this post and you are not following Ghana Decides on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Tumblr, Storify, Instagram, Skype, then you should do so now. Ghana Decides is a BloggingGhana (BloGH) election project. It seeks to leverage the use of social media in Ghana’s December 2012 elections.