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January 1, 2011
On March 23, 2010, CDF-Minnesota partnered with the Calhoun Commons Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop to celebrate the annual "Free Cone Day" with a mix of new ice cream flavors and a little old fashioned voter registration to welcome in spring.
For more than 30 years, Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops across the country have kick-started spring by scooping up free ice cream to all customers who walk through their doors one day each year. In line with their commitment to linking corporate success with helping improve the communities they serve, the Calhoun Commons site, located in Uptown, Minneapolis, took Free Cone Day to a new level by partnering with CDF-Minnesota to help get eligible Minnesotans registered and excited to vote.
CDF-Minnesota provided Free Cone customers with voter registration applications from noon to 8:00 pm, along with additional information and resources about voting in Minnesota. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie joined CDF-Minnesota and Ben & Jerry's as a "Celebrity Scooper" from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.
"Each year we hope to see more and more young people getting registered and voting," states CDF-Minnesota Director Jim Koppel. "Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day provides a great opportunity for high school seniors and other young people to register to vote so they can participate in the upcoming November elections."
Getting young first-time voters has always been a challenge. During the 2000 election, voter turnout for 18 to 25 year olds was less than 50 percent. Fortunately, turnout for young and first-time voters has begun to turn around.
"I applaud Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota and Ben & Jerry's for finding creative ways of reaching out to youth in our communities," Ritchie said. "I am thrilled to join them in this effort to engage Minnesotans, especially our next generation, about the importance of voting and civic participation."