michelle-madison.jpgBy Carolyn Guness

MIAMI — If you could get a chair massage or sip on a glass of champagne while you registered to vote, would you? Add a swank hotel room on South Beach, beautiful people and Power 96’s DJ Afrika encouraging you on. Are you ready now?

This scene will exist at Vote in Vogue: The Chic Voter Registration Drive, 2 – 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22 in the Clevelander Hotel’s 1020 Music Lounge, 1020 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach.

This scene will exist at Vote in Vogue: The Chic Voter Registration Drive, 2 – 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22 in the Clevelander Hotel’s 1020 Music Lounge, 1020 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach.

The organizers of the fashionable soirée, produced by Miami Now TV as its season two opening show, expect to draw those newly turned 18, new
students to the area or anyone who needs to register to vote in the upcoming local and presidential elections.

The show, Respect My Vote and Social Esquire hope that in addition to catching up on Saturday chores or some rays at the beach, people will join them at Vote in Vogue as they register voters in a party atmosphere.

Vote in Vogue is meant to make registrants feel fabulous while attending to a civic duty and a right forfeited by some. It is almost a last-ditch chance to register, since the deadline is Oct. 9. The general election for president and some local offices is Nov. 6.

“Our goal is to get 400 people registered but if we register 5, 10 or 100, that’s 5, 10 or 100 more who will be able to vote on Election Day,” said Michelle Madison, executive producer and host of Miami Now TV, a weekly online lifestyle show launched last year. “We are not asking anyone to campaign. We are not promoting any particular party; we are just promoting voter registration.”

Haircuts and hot shaves and haircuts will be complimentary from Razzle Dazzle Barber Shop during the event. Goodie bags will feature gift cosmetics, and local boutiques will be on hand to show the latest trends.

“We understand the importance of being registered for this election regardless of party affiliation, so we wanted to help,” said Anna Whitlow, marketing manager for the Clevelander Hotel, which offered the space for the event.

The entry “fee” for the bipartisan event is an onsite voter registration or current voter registration card with matching picture ID.

Voter registration drives all but dried up for this election cycle since a Republican-backed set of laws passed to curtail fraud included some provisions that stymied organizations that registered voters.

Respect My Vote, which is a part of the Hip Hop caucus, will conduct the registrations on Saturday. Mark Gordon, committee member of the Miami Chapter of Respect My Vote, said the Vote in Vogue effort is a unique one.

“It will be interesting to see how it turns out,” said Gordon, who added that though the new voting laws threaten fine for organizations that turn in registrations later than 48 hours after receiving them, the Miami Chapter has not had any problems.

According to the Florida Division of Elections, in order to register to vote in the state, a person must: be a Citizen of the United States of America (a lawful permanent resident is not a U.S. citizen); be a Florida resident; be 18 years old (you may pre-register to vote if you are 16 years old, but you cannot vote until you are 18 years old); not now be adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting in Florida or any other state without having the right to vote restored; not have been convicted of a felony without your civil rights having been restored; and provide your current and valid Florida driver’s license number or Florida identification card number.

Those who do not have a Florida driver’s license number or a Florida identification card number must provide the last four digits of their Social Security Number. Those who have neither must write “none” in the box or field.

While voter drives are typically focused on minorities and newly eligible citizens, Vote in Vogue’s organizers say they hope to reach a demographic that may sometimes be overlooked.

“We are trying to reach young, urban, hip people, who may not know that they can vote,” Madison said.