Party gets people to the polls: Ballot Box Bash is a blast

If you’re between the ages of 21 and 35 and aren’t registered to vote, Unity in the Community has a bull’s eye on you.

The non-partisan group held its first-ever Ballot Box Bash at the Snow Goose Restaurant, Sept. 17. Local musicians Emily Kurn, Backstrap and the Whipsaws joined in on the fun.
The objective of the event was to encourage Alaskans to register to vote. Organizers asked people to bring five non-registered voters to the bash. By the middle of the night about 25 people had registered to vote, but the evening was still young. The event wasn’t just aimed at a young audience, though.

“Eighteen-year-olds vote more often because they are excited, but then they lose interest,” organizer Mahri Lowinger said. “We want to reach the 21 to 35-year-olds that are [politically minded] but just never got out there.”

Mark Lawrence, another organizer for the event agrees.

“The idea for this came about because no one else was doing it,” Lawrence said. “This is about creating a more active and engaged political community.”

Upon entering the pub portion of the restaurant, a table was set up with a myriad of items. Hot Licks Homemade Ice Cream donated stacks of two-for-one coupons and a couple stacks of CDs were neatly placed in between clipboards full of various voting registration forms.
Every person involved in the evening’s festivities was a volunteer and everything was donated, including the space used.

Michael Kief, a guitar player and vocalist for Backstrap thinks voting this November is crucial.
“This might be one of the most critical election years, even more so than 1992,” Kief said. “It’s vital that people in our age group come out and vote and make a stand about our future.”

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Backstrap guitarist Bryan Jippering was happy to play Friday night’s gig.

“I think this is a great cause. Folks our age can sway the vote,” Jippering said.
As the bands played, event organizers ran around the room delivering registration forms to those who needed them.

University of Alaska Anchorage employee Todd McCracken enjoyed the festivities and also filled out an absentee ballot form.

“It’s important to be here and spread voting awareness to the community we live in and get them to vote,” McCracken said.

If you are one of those people who think this coming election is important and you haven’t registered, you have till Oct. 3 to sign up.

For more information about Unity in the Community and Ballot Box Bash, visit