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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 February, 2004, 09:56 GMT
US bands line up against Bush
The Punk Voter coalition
The Punk Voter website offers news and celebrity commentary
Nearly 200 US punk bands have lined up to try to get fans to boost the vote against President Bush through the Punk Voter coalition.

Punk Voter's roots go back to 2000 when NOFX bassist Fat Mike suffered insomnia after Bush beat Al Gore in the election by 537 votes in Florida.

"I've sold 50,000 records in Florida," he said. "If 500 fans had voted it could have been a different election."

NOFX have attacked Bush on albums such as 2003's The War on Errorism.

The Punk Voter coalition says it can harness votes from punk rock fans with a combination of politically charged lyrics and reminders about civic duty in wartime.

Justin Sane, guitarist and singer with Anti-Flag, said: "If you don't find yourself in the voting booth you may find yourself in combat boots in the desert."

Voter apathy

The coalition is also inviting liberal groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America to their concerts.

A website has been launched offering election news and commentaries from former Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra, Jay Bentley from Bad Religion and Jim Lindberg from Pennywise.

This spring, Fat Mike - whose real name is Mike Burkett - plans to release a Punk Voter compilation album of songs from 27 bands and will support it with a tour of colleges.

But recent history has suggests celebrity-driven voter registration campaigns do not make much difference in the US.

Despite MTV's Rock the Vote campaign in 2000, and other initiatives, only 29% of the 8.4 million US people aged 18 to 24 voted in the presidential election.

Turnout has been in decline since 43% of young people voted in 1972.

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