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Group targeting younger voters in Tulsa

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 11/11/2013 7:49 pm Published: 11/11/2013 4:43 pm

With just more than 12 hours to go before the polls open, the final push is underway to get people to vote: specifically, young people.

A group of artists and community organizers are in a blitz campaign to reach as many people between the ages of 18 to 29 to get them to vote.

They're pushing a hashtag on social media: #whoismotcot and they're hoping people will want to find out.

They're also using a modern adaptation of the old painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware to appeal to a sense of freedom and a duty to get involved.

At age 24, Sarah O'Banion is exactly who the group is targeting.

“Yes, I will be voting," she said.

FOX23 talked to her at the pedestrian bridge over the river on Sunday, where she saw this picture.

"It immediately caught my attention," she said.

"Tulsa's got the lowest youth voter turnout in America," said Noah Roberts, an organizer with #whoismotcot

Roberts said the numbers are embarrassing.

"Less than 6 percent of voters 18 to 21 voted in our last mayoral election. Less than 10 percent voted between 18 and 29," he said.

That's why he joined forces with Tulsa artists to make the picture to grab attention and launch a social media blitz campaign.

"We needed kind of a silly hashtag to get people's attention on this upcoming election. So, who is mayor of the city of Tulsa? I don't know, who is it? Who's running? And why are they running? And who are you for?" Roberts said.

He's targeting a demographic he said should be deciding elections.

"There's 22,000 people 18 to 29. They're registered, they're living here. They just don't vote," said Roberts.

He said it's not just about voting, it's about getting young people to invest and stick around Tulsa and help it grow.

"If they were voting, they were planning on sticking around, they're going to start businesses, they're going to buy homes," he said.

To be clear Roberts said the effort isn't in support of one candidate or the other.

"They're just not engaged. So, we're not telling them how to vote. We're telling them when to vote," he said.

And with efforts like this, "I think it's catching on. It didn't used to. Young people didn't used to vote. But, i think it's finally catching on and people are doing it," said O'Banion.

Roberts said he and his fellow organizers aren't going to be done after tomorrow's election. They plan to continue to find ways to engage younger demographics and get them invested in Tulsa.

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