Not all people who attend concerts are consumers of cannabis, and not all consumers of cannabis attend shows, but nonpartisan voter engagement organization HeadCount.org is looking to connect with the members of those groups that do overlap.
The organization will register voters at concerts this summer, including tours by Dead & Company, G-Eazy, Jay-Z and Beyoncé , as well as the Vans Warped Tour. But it’s also focusing on local shows at venues such as Paramore at Bold Sphere Music at Champion’s Square (New Orleans) and Unknown Mortal Orchestra at Republic New Orleans.
HeadCount.org executive director Andy Bernstein said his organization reaches agreements with the respective artists and tours, adding that it will handle opportunities leading up to National Voter Registration Day and Election Day on a case-by-case basis.
Founded in 2004, the organization set up shop on tours by artists including Dave Matthews Band, Phish and The Dead, Bernstein explained. “Concerts were a very efficient place to register voters. They bring out large numbers of people—people who are part of a community and feel connected to each other,” he added.
More than 50,000 voters were registered via HeadCount.org in its first year. The organization also ran public-service announcements on network television.
Bernstein said HeadCount.org has two main objectives—voter registration and education—saying of the latter, “I would feel much more informed as a voter if I had a way to find out where my local elected officials stood on this issue, as well as where the state stood.”
When asked about whether HeadCount.org’s efforts vary in states where cannabis has been legalized versus those where it has not, Bernstein said people care about the issue in all 50 states, adding, “The states that have legalized cannabis probably have more going on legislatively than others in terms of tweaking the laws—the most potential change.”
The Cannabis Voter Project website provides information including an online voter registration tool, state-by-state guides on elected officials’ stances on marijuana, action opportunities, media outlets and merchandise.
Those action opportunities include calling local representatives, writing elected officials and connecting with chapters of drug law reform organizations NORML, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Marijuana Policy Project and Drug Policy Alliance.
As for future plans, Bernstein said HeadCount.org is working with ad agency Ace Content on a campaign that will roll out later this year.