Register to vote through your 360

With the Democratic National Convention gearing up today, we’re about to really launch into the presidential election season here in the US. In an effort to reach out to the 18-30 year old demographic, notorious for low registration rate, Rock the Vote has teamed up with Microsoft to bring the election into homes via Xbox Live. Users of the service will be able to register to vote, participate in polling and sound off to the candidates.

I haven’t seen anything in action yet, either on my console or at, though the service is supposed to be available starting today. It sounds like a good idea, since it’s pretty obvious that the core audience of the 360 fits well with the demographic that Rock the Vote targets, but I wonder how many people will go through the effort to fill out registration forms. I know that there’s no way in hell that I’d try to type in my personal details using the dashboard with a standard controller, so participation may wind up being limited to those with USB keyboards or text messaging kits.

If I could be allowed to get on a soapbox for a moment here, I take voting extremely seriously. While I recognize that everybody has the right to not participate in the process, I really can’t think of anything more irresponsible than a failure to make even this most modest gesture towards telling our elected officials what we expect from them. If you are of voting age, I urge you to please, please register to vote if you haven’t already and then turn out on election day.

Conrad Zimmerman