In the News

‘Vixens’ hope to make voting more seductive: A new organization determined to get more young women out to the polls recently set up shop at Churchill’s in Little Haiti.

Miami Herald (Miami, Florida) Publication Date: 29-OCT-06
Byline: Rob Barry

Oct. 29–A group of young women talked politics amid cigarette smoke and live music at Churchill’s Pub on a recent Friday.

The left-leaning but ostensibly nonpartisan women, who call themselves the “Voting Vixens,” were set up in the club’s outdoor patio, where they sold pink “Voting Vixen” T-shirts, handed out copies of Voting Vixens magazine, touted their website (votingvixen.com), signed women up for a mailing list, and generally cajoled the other female pubgoers into political conversation.

Much later, they ringed the dance floor and partied at the Little Haiti bar.

The Vixens is a grass-roots project started by Women’s Movement Now, the local chapter of Younger Women’s Task Force.

Over music pumped by nearby DJ PG-13, Voting Vixen Mikele Aboitiz Earle explained the group’s genesis: “There wasn’t a space for younger women to connect … We all felt there was something missing in Miami.”

The project attempts to address the less-then-spectacular turnout among younger women in recent elections. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 45 percent of women aged 18-24 voted in 2004, much lower than the overall female average of 60 percent.

“There’s a lot affecting them, and they’re not participating,” said Voting Vixen Lauren Fordyce of Miami.

“We believe young women have a powerful voice, and we need to start using it,” said Sophie Brion, the 28-year-old director of Women’s Movement Now, as she eyed the trendy crowd of partygoers — most of whom had showed up to hear live music played inside the pub.

Brion said the Vixens started out with about a dozen women, but has since developed a mailing list with 120 names. Their efforts are focused on helping women register to vote — but since the registration deadline for the Nov. 7 election passed, they’ve turned their attention toward reminding women to go to the polls next month.

Part of the Vixens’ system: Appeal to the people who don’t normally pay attention to the issues.

“We’re using marketing techniques that are used to sell hair and makeup,” Brion said. These techniques, according to Brion, include a practice known as “viral marketing” — word-of-mouth with the addition of online social networks — as well as expressions of female sexuality. Thus the group’s name.

“I feel like we’re reaching a group of people who are not coming out to rock the vote, they’re coming out to rock,” Brion said.

Copyright (c) 2006, The Miami Herald

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