On Saturday afternoon, bands and speakers will converge at Mother’s Brewing Company during Springfield’s first Votestock, a free music event designed to register young voters.
Missouri House Bill 1878 requires residents to present photo IDs to cast ballots and file absentee ballots in person, among other changes. For those who seek to register voters, the laws also change substantially. Solicitors are banned from being paid and also must register with the secretary of state if registering 10 or more voters and be registered to vote in Missouri.
Brower described these changes as “voter suppression laws,” and said that when he looked at the calendar, the Saturday before the voting laws change caught his eye.
“It seemed like that was a good opportunity to register as many voters as possible before the new restrictions take effect,” he said.
Members of the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri will be on hand at Mother’s, 215 S. Grant Ave., to lead the registration drive. On Aug. 22, the League of Women Voters of Missouri teamed with the Missouri NAACP to sue the state and Missouri Secretary of State John Ashcroft, among others, arguing that the changes to voter solicitation laws violate the Missouri Constitution.
Both Vote 417 and the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri are nonpartisan nonprofits. Brower said the event is being held to register young voters, and the acts performing at Votestock reflect the target audience. He said members of headlining act Catalina are supportive of the cause, and rallied some of the other acts on the bill to perform. Guinevere Sheafer, Annabelle Moore and Ashlynne Grey will also play at the Springfield brewery.
Along with music from four groups, the event will feature speeches from Joan Gentry, director of the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri; Kai Sutton, president of NAACP Springfield and author Bon Tindle.
“We want to register voters, of course, but then again, we want everybody to enjoy the lineup and have a good time and enjoy themselves and celebrate our democracy, while still keeping in mind that we’re in very serious danger of losing it,” Brower said.
4 p.m. Ashlynne Grey
5 p.m. Annabelle Moore
6 p.m. Guinevere Sheafer
7 p.m. Catalina
4:50 p.m. Bon Tindle, author, “Like The Air We Breathe”
5:50 p.m. Kai Sutton, president, NAACP Springfield
6:50 p.m. Joan Gentry, director, League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri.