Rock AR Vote is a political initiative launched by Get Out The Vote  college outreach to educate, register, and engage college students in Central Arkansas to participate in the election cycle.
Problems and Purpose
2014 in the State of Arkansas, young adults considered voting in midterm elections was not effective. Rock AR Vote hosted a dinner and invited elected officials, young professional groups, and community organizers to come talk about the issues that the community faced. There was a poll taken at the dinner and 50% of young adults reported that their votes did not mattered. Through observation a majority of young adults do not participate in politics because of a lack of awareness and voter education. “Voter education and not having enough candidate information was a reason for young voters not voting”(2017). Rock AR Vote
Background History and Context
Eddie Armstrong is a former state representative for North Little Rock District 37. As the former minority leader of the Arkansas House of Representatives, Eddie has been at the forefront of the fight to expand the availability of medical cannabis. Prior to his career as a legislator, Eddie served as the manager for state and government affairs at Tyson Food, where he led legislative and regulatory lobbying efforts in 18 states. He also has cultivated extensive links within the medical and clinical science communities, having served as a business development officer for Pathology Partners Laboratory and as growth development strategy principal for Phoenix Labs. Eddie Armstrong organized the group to demonstrate concern regarding the injustices of slain teen Mike Brown. We were frustrated with the killing of Mike Brown and as a collective we organized a public forum as an alternative to bring awareness instead of complaining. Rock AR Vote initiative launched in 2014 after the lynching of Mike Brown in St. Louis, Missouri.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
Get Out The Vote College outreach was organized by Rock AR Vote with the assistance of Philander Smith College students. The Get Out To Vote efforts were led by Philander Smith College Student Government Association and Arkansas’ influential group of young professionals. The events were led by State Representative Charles Blake, organizer Darius Walton and members of the Arkansas Black Caucus. We had support from local churches: Wesley United Methodist Church, Saint Mark Baptist, Second Baptist Church and support from local Arkansas Urban League Young Professionals. The
movement was funded by donation through MTV Vote Together initiative, car washes, selling t-shirts and generous in kind gifts.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
The recruitment strategy focused on campus lead teams. The team focus on the R.E.C your campus model, The R model = Recruit and register 15,000 Millennials. Rock AR Vote focused on the Greek Lettered Organizations, beauty salons, barber shops, churches, clubs and student leaders with influence to recruit more voters to participate in the election cycle.
Methods and Tools Used
Before an event, Rock AR Vote team would recruit volunteers through all social media platforms. The Get out to vote community leaders were able to share the events to their social media outlets. Rock AR Vote created a campaign model below that was successful in recruiting people to join the movement.
The purpose of the mixers are to invite likely voters into a space to learn more about the issues and candidates.
Grassroots door to door wins campaigns. We will go into the barbershops, nail shops, churches, beauty salons, yoga places, and number of spaces to gain attraction.
Campaign Pledge Cards
Pledge cards are the helps track data on following up.
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
Rock AR Vote held social mixers on Tuesdays at locations that attracted young professionals. The social mixers welcomed community stakeholders, politicians, candidates and everyone who were concerned about the community. The purpose of the social mixers invited likely voters into a familiar space to learn more about the issues at stake and the candidates.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
There is evidence that Rock AR Vote influenced participants to get out and go vote this past election cycle. The evidence includes members of Rock AR Vote team partnering with various organizations to express the importance of being involved and showing up for all elections. During the Little Rock mayoral race, young professionals were actively engaged.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
The GOTV outreach was successful and Rock AR Vote movement is growing larger than ever through efforts of participation. The movement was formed to increase the number of young professionals knowledge about the importance of voting. A lesson learned from the events were that accommodating the young professionals in their space. In order for a movement to successfully work, meet in the middle for a partnership.
 Knoester, M., & Kretz, L. (2017). Why do young adults vote at low rates? implications for education. Social Studies Research and Practice, 12(2), 139-153. doi:10.1108/SSRP-04-2017-0013
The first version of this case entry was written by Tamara Bates, a Master of Public Service candidate at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, and then edited. The views expressed in the entry are those of the authors, editors, or cited sources, and are not necessarily those of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.