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March 4, 2012

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If Jayme Ploff were running a local campaign, you had better believe her candidate would win. But Ploff is not in the business of politics; she is a local musician who has rapidly and decisively organized Monday’s Raise Your Voice - A Concert to Support Voter Registration at the Red Hen Coffee House and Cafe.

Like Rock the Vote events, Ploff wanted to combine music with civic duty. At a recent political meeting she attended, the idea of a voter registration event came up. "They wanted to hold it at the Republican Headquarters," Ploff explains. "I thought it would be too intimidating for some people to come out." A concert with other local musicians would help draw a younger crowd, Ploff suggested.

Within three weeks of envisioning the concert, Ploff had enlisted the help of fellow Easton musical groups such as Ryful, Johnny Bling, 411, MuleTrain, Shea Springer, and Lisa Rowe, who will be playing at the event on Monday, March 5th from 5-9 PM. "I think that music is universal and really brings people together," Ploff says.

The concert is free, provided entrants register to vote or show a current voter registration card. In order to register voters, Ploff and several other volunteers took a brief class on voter registration. Red Hen owners Sara and Justin Ewing donated their stage and music space to the cause.

An active member of the Mid-Shore for Ron Paul group, Ploff has worked with fellow Paul devotees to rally concert-goers and organize. Mid-Shore for Ron Paul supporters got in touch with local campaigns for other Republican nominees and Obama's reelection, inviting them to hand out information at the event and talk to potential voters.

In Easton, the Ron Paul campaign has been unusually active, with two recent sign-waiving events, monthly meetings, and a Facebook page to keep members in constant contact.

Part of the impetus behind the registration event is for Ron Paul supporters, who may have previously been registered as Independents or Democrats, to change party affiliation so they can vote in the Republican primary. Maryland will hold its primary election on April 3rd, four weeks after the 10-state Super Tuesday this week.

A candidate needs to amass 1,144 delegates to win the Republican nomination. With only 355 of the delegates pledged, the nomination remains a tortoise's race. According to CNN, Romney, holding more overall state wins, has 187 delegates as compared to Santorum's 86, Paul’s 46, and Gingrich’s 36.

Joe McArtor, who is also active in the Ron Paul campaign, plans on attending the concert. "The voting process is something which is sacred in this country," McArtor explains. Spreading the Ron Paul message is part of McArtor’s agenda at the event. "When you begin to support Dr. Paul, you quickly find that you are not supporting the man, but an idea and a principal which made this Republic so great."

Regardless of political affiliation, Ploff envisions an event that is "open to everyone," helping to bring together diverse groups of voter persuasions. Eastonians have the added benefit of hearing local talent without charge—some of whom, like MuleTrain, have recently played sold-out shows at the Avalon's Stolz Listening Room.

As for McArtor, he will be paying less attention to the music and more to the political discourse: "People in this election cycle certainly have the power to dramatically change the course of our national destiny like perhaps never before in history."

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March 4, 2012

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