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Cycling For Votes

Cross-country activists stop in Speculator

June 18, 2008
By JOHN BORGOLINI, The Leader-Herald
SPECULATOR — A group of six young cyclists from Vermont stopped at the Adirondack Inn and Restaurant here on Tuesday to try to get people registered to vote.

They didn’t meet anyone at the inn who admitted to being unregistered as a voter, but they will continue to spread the word as they bicycle across the country.

Their 1,800-mile journey began Monday in Middlebury, Vt., and will take them to the Grand Tetons of Wyoming. They plan to visit dozens of diners and small restaurants along the way to encourge people to vote.

The students involved in The Great American Voter Trek are Hayden Coon, Matt Healy, Max MacDonald, Megan Newhouse, Allie Saslafsky and Nathan Williams.

“I feel that it’s important to get voters wherever [possible] and as many as possible,” said MacDonald, a recent graduate of St. Michael’s College, who came up with the idea for the project. “Voting is extremely important.”

Williams, a Middlebury College student, said he got involved after responding to an e-mail about the effort.

“Voting is really a recognition of participation in the system, understanding what’s happening and making decisions that affect you,” Williams said.

“Voting is being involved in your community and being aware of the issues that are important to [the] people,” said Newhouse. “It really doesn’t matter where you live. Everyone has a voice both at the national level and in their communities.”

“People look at issues and say, ‘Oh, I wish I could do something about it.’ Well, you can do something about it — you can put your vote in,” Saslafsky said.

Coon biked across the country last year to raise awareness for cancer research and talked to MacDonald about his experiences with that before getting involved with the Voter Trek.

“I think voting to me represents America,” said Healy.

“We can all voice our opinion if we don’t like what’s going on in our country,” Healy said. “We have an option to change that by joining together and voting.”

Speculator Mayor Neil McGovern, the owner of the Adirondack Inn and Restaurant, was the students’ host.

“It’s always disappointing when you see the turnouts being 50 percent or less,” McGovern said. “You can’t expect to get a good representative government if you don’t participate.”

The group will make stops in cities such as Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland and Omaha, Neb.

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/John Borgolini

Megan Newhouse, left, and Allie Saslafsky of the Great American Voter Trek speak with Speculator Mayor and Adirondack Inn and Restaurant owner Neil McGovern on Tuesday at the inn.



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