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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 October, 2004, 10:44 GMT 11:44 UK
Sex pledges to boost US vote turnout
Bush and Kerry campaign banners
Votergasm says it wants to boost voter turnout among young people
A new campaign to encourage young Americans to vote on election day is using a novel incentive - sex pledges.

Americans who sign up to Votergasm can pledge to withhold sex from a non-voter for up to four years until the next presidential election in 2008.

A spokeswoman told the BBC that the internet-based campaign aims to boost voter turnout among young people, as well as promoting safe, consensual sex.

Organisers claim that 30,000 people have already signed up to the campaign.

Citizen, patriot or hero?

Voters who visit the Votergasm website can choose from three different levels of commitment:

  • "Votergasm citizens" must pledge to withhold sex from non-voters for a week after election night

  • "Patriot-level commitment" requires a voter to have sex with another voter on election night as well as withholding sex from non-voters for a week

  • Those who take the most extreme pledge, called "American hero", commit themselves to having sex with another 2004 voter as well as turning down all non-voters until the 2008 vote.

We think this election is very important and this is the least you can do for your country
Michelle Collins
Votergasm spokeswoman
Campaign spokeswoman Michelle Collins says Votergasm is non-partisan and is a legitimate tool for mobilising young voters.

"Increasing voter turn-on is what we like to say here," she told the BBC World Service's World Today programme.

"We are there to say that voting and sex are two ways you can participate in being an American.

"We think this election is very important and this is the least you can do for your country.

"Our goal is to have 100,000 young voters catalyse 250,000 orgasms by 3 November."

'Selling sex for votes'

Votergasm's unorthodox attempt to persuade young people to vote has won the campaign widespread publicity since its launch on 4 September.

Rapper Lil Kim
Rapper Lil Kim backs another pro-vote hip hop campaign

The founder members are recent graduates from respected US universities including Columbia, Harvard and the University of Wisconsin.

The campaign quickly attracted the attention of right-wing radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who says Votergasm is "selling sex for votes".

Despite Votergasm's quick impact, the movement is still dwarfed by established youth-vote campaigns such as Rock The Vote, founded in 1990, which claims to have registered almost 1.4 million voters.

And another campaign, the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, has the backing of a host of rap and hip-hop musicians.

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