Rock The Ballot: Music for change 

Just when you thought American youth couldn't get anymore apathetic, people like Michael Vellotti and Joseph Bridges put their idealism where their collective political mouth is. In an event that is among a few other valiant, non-partisan action efforts in town, the two have masterminded a way to bring people of all ages and political persuasions together to talk about the issues while munching on free food and listening to music from some of the best loved bands in town.

"We have big movements like Vote for Change and Rock the Vote, but they are definitely anti-Bush, and negativity just breeds negativity. So we started thinking, why not all come together and celebrate that it's our right and responsibility to vote," Vellotti said, adding that the choice is ultimately not as important as making it in the first place.

One of the best strategies Vellotti and Bridges had in setting up Rock the Ballot was to schedule it in a place that young people already relate to, somewhere like The Venue. And in keeping with the average human attention span (20 minutes and about seven seconds by my count), political offerings including speakers from the Ada County Democrats, Boise State Young Republicans, the Community Action Network and the Boise High Debate Team will be broken up with live performances by XEX (classic rock), Proverb (hip-hop), Muchedi (hip-hop) and the band Vellotti fronts, THE SINDICATE (techno rock metal). Free pizza will be provided by Domino's, and according to Vellotti, the night promises to be educational and encouraging as opposed to grossly partisan and unappealing to those who may never have voted before.

"A lot of young people feel very strongly about what they're told--what they read in Rolling Stone or hear at the Warped Tour--they may not be making decisions based on how they truly feel," he said. "Sometimes they don't know how they feel, and we're trying to change that." :

Rock the Ballot takes place November 1, 6-9:30 p.m., FREE, The Venue, 6th and Broad St. Visit for more information.

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Speaking of Election 2004,


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