Group encourages voters to register with "swagg"

Tuesday, September 18, 2012 | 5:39 p.m. CDT; updated 6:30 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 18, 2012

COLUMBIA — Plenty of grassroots organizations help community members register to vote, but few claim to do so with “swagg.”

Organizers of Swagg the Vote, a voter registration drive set for Saturday afternoon at Douglass Park, hope combining a fish and wing fry with live music acts will motivate urban youth in Columbia to vote in the upcoming election.

Event organizer Marvin Stemmons said Swagg the Vote, which will last from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., will also feature softball games, a step team and speakers from the NAACP.

Stemmons said he had emailed several local representatives to request their attendance at the event to show voters who's on the ballot.

“Our vote counts, especially in Missouri, and in the President Obama election,” Stemmons said. “So we need people to be educated.”

Swagg the Vote is not the first event organized by Stemmons' organization, TEAM, or "together everyone achieves more." The group also hosted a back-to-school kickball tournament and school supply giveaway in August.

On Friday, the organization hosted “Jr. High Friday Teen Nite,” an open mic session at Burlington Bingo Hall for children ages 13 through 16.

Stemmons said TEAM aims to provide positive activities for everyone in the community, not just teenagers.

“Everybody needs something to do,” Stemmons said. “We try to cater to the young as well as the old and middle aged. We need everyone to work together as a community.”

More information about Swagg the Vote and TEAM is available on TEAM’s Facebook page, DaTeam573.

Supervising editor is Jacob Kirn.

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