Food. Music. Voting?

Students at Meharry Medical College, Fisk University and other Nashville campuses are putting together an early-voting rally to be held this month in a bid to boost turnout among the area’s college students following implementation of Tennessee’s voter identification law.

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Operation: Wake-Up and Vote — which organizers shorten to Operation: WAVE — will feature food and entertainment in an effort to entice students to come out and vote early in the Nov. 6 general election. The event will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20, starting at 11 a.m.

“For students on a weekend, 11 o’clock is pretty early,” said Jane Mantey, a Meharry doctoral student helping to organize the event. “We just want to support students’ coming out to vote.”

Tennessee Citizen Action, a critic of the state’s new requirement that voters show a picture ID at the polls, is backing the rally. Student government associations at Fisk and Meharry also have endorsed the event, and efforts are under way to bring on board students at Vanderbilt University, Belmont University, Tennessee State University, Lipscomb University and Nashville State Community College.

The event is nonpartisan and will be held near the offices of the Davidson County Election Commission in the Howard School administrative building, a location picked to protest a provision of the voter ID law that bars poll workers from accepting college ID cards. Critics of the Republican-backed law have said the exclusion of college IDs was meant to depress turnout by students, a group that tends to vote Democratic. read more…