Video Game Voters Network Launches ‘Start Democracy’ Voter Drive for 2016 Election

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

The Video Game Voters Network (VGVN) announced a voter registration campaign called Start Democracy on Thursday after reaching more than one million members.

The VGVN, founded in 2006 and sponsored by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), is a political advocacy group for issues important to gamers, particularly protecting the 1st Amendment status of video games to enjoy the same protection against undue regulation and censorship as enjoyed by other creative media.

“Without a critical mass of adult video game players who are registered to vote and willing to stand firmly behind their games, politicians will continue to fire criticism at games and game players in order to score easy points for their political campaigns,” the VGVN argues.

Many gamers will remember efforts by current Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton to push the Family Entertainment Protection Act through Congress in 2005 when she was still a Senator that would have criminalized the sale of violent video games to minors. Republican candidate Chris Christie supported a similar measure as governor of New Jersey in 2013, despite the fact that the Supreme Court had struck down a California law banning the sale of violent games to minors in 2011.

The 7-2 decision in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association ruled that video games must be protected from censorship like any other form of media. “Video games communicate ideas—and even social messages—through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world),” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the majority opinion for the case. “That suffices to confer First Amendment protection.”

The VGVN “also enables gamers to stay educated about issues, reach out to federal, state, and local officials, and register to vote.”

Start Democracy’s goal is to bring issues important to gamers to the forefront of the 2016 presidential race. As Breitbart Tech previously reported, a recent ESA survey of gamers conducted by Ipsos found that 80 percent of gamers plan to vote in the 2016 election and are concerned about a variety of topics the United States currently faces, including the economy, job security, terrorism, education, and healthcare.

The survey found gamers evenly split between conservative and liberal positions on many national issues, making candidates addressing issues of specific importance to the video game community all the more critical in 2016.

Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA, predicted that 100 million gamers will go to the polls in next years election.

“These highly engaged members make their voices heard in government offices across the country, educating officials about video games’ positive impacts, advocating for policy issues affecting game creators and consumers, and protecting video games’ First Amendment rights,” Rich Taylor, senior vice president of communications and industry affairs of the ESA, said in a statement provided to Breitbart Tech.

Start Democracy will be promoted by the VGVN in partnership with Rock the Vote in an effort to register one million new voters by election day 2016. “We are thrilled to support VGVN’s Start Democracy campaign and provide the voter registration technology that will make it easy for the video game community to participate in the 2016 elections,” Ashley Spillane, president of Rock the Vote, stated.

Voter registration can be completed at the VGVN’s website or the Start Democracy site.

Start Democracy Infographic

Noah Dulis is the Deputy Managing Editor of Breitbart News and co-editor of Breitbart Tech. Follow him on Twitter @Marshal_Dov.

Breitbart Tech is a new vertical from Breitbart News covering tech, gaming and internet culture. Bookmark and follow @BreitbartTech on Twitter and Facebook.


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