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The Aspen Public Radio Newsroom has chosen to focus on four specific issues for our election coverage: the COVID-19 pandemic, social justice/representation, climate change and land use/management.These issues were among the most important to voters, according to a Pew Research poll in August 2020. We also chose them because they are important to people who live in the Roaring Fork Valley. That’s especially true as many have seen the economy, and their livelihoods, take a hit because of the pandemic, the growing Latino population in the region hasn’t had someone from their community holding a countywide governmental office, wildfires have been ferocious this season in the state, and the oil and gas industry employs many people.Our central question while reporting this series was “What Can I Expect From My Government?” We set out to find a diverse group of people who could tell us their answers to that question.Our election series is scheduled for Oct. 20-23. You'll be able to hear the stories during Morning Edition and All Things Considered. All our content will also be available here. Many of the other stories you’ll find here are from our reporting partners. We wanted to provide information about Colorado's key ballot initiatives and races, and also share details about how you can take part in this historic election year.

A Roaring Fork Valley Local Wants People To 'Get Out The Vote'

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Hayden Cleverly
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Valley resident Hayden Cleverly recently launched a new brand called Democrastreet Wear, or “DEMSW” for short. It includes items like swimsuits that say “Nasty Voter” and coffee mugs printed with “Voting is Sexy.”

Cleverly designs the graphics herself and she’s working with a local printing shop, Live Loud T-Shirts, in Basalt to do the printing on ethically-sourced clothing made in the United States. 

Cleverly said she recognizes that so much of the language and branding around political engagement can be isolating, so she created her brand to make voting more accessible for young people. 

“I’ve gotten the chance to connect with people from all over the country through this brand,” she said. “There’s a young man in Ohio who is 18 years old and it’s his first time voting, he was so excited to wear the clothes and be a proud voter and help mobilize folks in his community.” 

Cleverly said half of the proceeds from sales will go to Higher Heights, a political action committee that supports Black women running for office and We Got The Vote, a grassroots advocacy group that helps people with past felony convictions restore their right to vote. 

With a voter turnout rate of about 56% in the last presidential election in 2016, Cleverly emphasized the U.S. government is not reflecting or adequately serving all citizens.

“We’ve never had a truly functional democracy, because we’ve never had a government for the people by the people,” Cleverly said. 

Democrastreet Wear is also launching a new Artist Collaboration series and a Civic Ambassador Program to register voters and to sign people up to vote by mail. You can learn more about these upcoming initiatives on the DEMSW website, Instagram or Facebook page

 

This year’s election is Nov. 3. 

 

Eleanor is an award-winning journalist and Morning Edition anchor. Eleanor has reported on a wide range of topics in her community, including the impacts of federal immigration policies on local DACA recipients, the Valley’s COVID-19 eviction and housing crisis, and hungry goats fighting climate change across the West through targeted grazing. Connecting with people from all walks of life and creating empathic spaces for them to tell their stories fuels her work.
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