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Tampa Bay for Bernie holding 2-day music fest to get out the vote

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Tampa Bay for Bernie, a local grassroots group campaigning for Bernie Sanders, is hosting a two-day music festival this weekend to get people registered to vote and change or update their voter registration. The deadline to do any of those things is Feb. 16.

This deadline is crucial for presidential campaigns in Florida because the state holds closed primaries. That means only registered Democrats can vote in the Democratic Primary, and only Republicans can vote in the GOP Primary.

Sanders supporters are hoping he’ll earn broad support from independents and are encouraging such supporters to change party affiliation by the deadline to be eligible to vote March 15.

“We encourage everyone to participate in this important election. We’ll have certified voter registration folks on site who will help you either get registered for the first time, change your address, or change your registration. And all are welcome, regardless of affiliation or who you plan to vote for. We’d just love to make sure you can vote, and enjoy a great show!” said Amos Miers, a Tampa Bay for Bernie volunteer organizer.

Get out the vote efforts are especially common ahead of major elections. Both parties frequently push memes claiming that people who stay at home on Election Day elect (insert the other party here.)

The event runs Saturday from 2 p.m. until 2 a.m. at Kymatic Studios located at 2436 Emerson Ave. in South St. Pete. It’s open again Sunday, noon until 6 p.m.

Musical acts range in genres from acoustic rock to reggae and folk to hip-hop. The group is suggesting a donation of $10 to cover costs, but in a genuine spirit of Sanders’ token Democratic Socialism, won’t turn anyone away.

A complete list of musical acts is on the group’s website along with necessary forms and information to register to vote, change party affiliation or update voter information.

Changes after the deadline could lead to voters having to cast provisional ballots.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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