Reaching out to young voters

September 29, 2012 

Quentin Gayten (left), a Columbia native playing college football in Mississippi, talks with Big T's Bar-B-Que Manager Greg Brown while completing his voter registration form on Saturday.

ANDREW SHAIN/THE STATE — Andrew Shain/The State

Quentin Gayten was home from college in Mississippi, where he plays linebacker for the Delta State football team, when he heard a radio ad about registering to vote at Big T’s Bar-B-Que in Columbia.

He stopped by the restaurant in a shopping center on Garners Ferry Road on Saturday for a bite to eat before sitting with manager Greg Brown to fill out a voter registration form.

Brown started a registration drive in the final week before the Oct. 6 registration deadline to vote in November to help get more young people to the polls. Those who register get some free food. He signed up a dozen voters on Friday. Gayten was his first Saturday.

“I was one of those who thought my vote didn’t count,” Brown said.

But getting involved in church youth ministry and starting to see his nieces and nephews grow up changed his attitude. “I wanted to prepare them and let them know your vote can make a difference,” Brown said.

Gayten said he registered because he believes this year’s presidential election is even more important to supporters of President Barack Obama, like himself. He is concerned not as many voters will not come out for the president as four years ago because the down economy has continued under his watch.

“I think people have to think of other things, too,” he said.

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