Sunday, October 31, 2004
Getting out all the votes
Voter Fest, music, food draw crowd
By Andrea Remke
Enquirer staff writer
COVINGTON - Strong afternoon winds blew more than just paper plates and balloons during the first Voter Fest Saturday in Covington. Politics was also in the air.
The Northern Kentucky-based Voter's Alliance welcomed a couple hundred people to the event, which took place in the parking lot at Seventh and Washington streets and encouraged people to vote Tuesday.
The Voter's Alliance consists of social service leaders in Northern Kentucky who target low-income and elderly residents and urge them to register to vote, help them understand the voting process and offer them information about candidates. Their efforts resulted in about 500 newly registered voters and training in the use of voting booths at seven locations in Covington.
Mary Jennings, a member of the Voters Alliance and also the director of Covington's Be Concerned, said the voter function was initiated because some low-income residents said they "don't feel they have a voice."
"This gives them a walk-through of the voting process," she said.
Voter Fest, which offered free food, door prizes, face painting, music and a petting zoo, was open to all political parties, Jennings said. Organizers invited all local and state candidates, however, none was expected to attend. Sr. Ellen Eckerle of St. Augustine Church, Covington, attended the event and hoped it accomplished at least one thing: "I just hope this gets more people to go and vote," she said.
Melissa Crooker, 29, of Covington, came to Voter Fest with her three children. She said one of her biggest concerns in this year's elections is health care.
"Being a single mom with three kids, it's got to be affordable."
Vanessa Page, of Covington, is another Voters Alliance member who helped at Saturday's event. She said this is the most important election we have had in this country.
"We need to start educating our children early," she said, "with mock elections in schools and letting them see how we vote... and that we have an obligation to our country."
Page, whose son served in the military, said that her right to vote means something more to her because of her African-American heritage.
"But it's not all about race...It's just important that we all vote."
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