Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ladies' Days

Posted By on Wed, Sep 27, 2006 at 2:22 PM

Women in Nashville and Murfreesboro soon will be able to register to vote using only their thumbs. A Washington-based nonprofit has launched a pilot program allowing women to take the first step toward voter registration via text messaging. A forthcoming ad blitz on buses, in movie theaters, newspapers and public bathrooms, is aimed at single women, particularly those attending colleges and universities. All an unregistered woman has to do is text an identifying keyword contained in each ad to 75444. She will then receive a text message asking for her name and email address. Once she texts that info, she'll receive an email with links to a voter registration website. (Gents, we suspect your emails would be answered too, especially if your names are Pat, Brook or Kendall.)

In any event, it's democracy via cell phone. With an election coming up, it's not a minute too soon. "Women on their own are one of the fastest-growing large demographic segments of the country," says Page Gardner, president of Women's Voices. Women Vote. (WVWV), the organization sponsoring the initiative. According to a study commissioned by Gardner's group, single women represent 46 percent of all voting-age women but are underrepresented in national elections.

"Despite their numbers," Gardner says, "single women register and vote less than their married counterparts." Her group is hoping to change that by reaching single women where they live—namely on campus and around town—and reaching them through a tool that no modern woman should be without: a cell phone. The pilot program runs through Oct. 6, so ladies can register for the Nov. 7 mid-term election. WVWV is hoping that this program will wake a sleeping political giant. Politicians, you have been warned.

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