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Bikers Peddle Voter Registration Across U.S.

This story was written by Gina Potthoff, The BG News

Vermont bicyclists are in a race to register voters before the November presidential election.

The "Great American Voter Trek," made up of seven students from Vermont's leading colleges and universities, is biking from Middlebury, Vt., to Laramie, Wyo., in the hopes of registering as many voters as possible for the 2008 election.

Next stop on the trip is Bowling Green.

They will be joined by Mayor John Quinn Tuesday, July 1, at Grounds for Thought located at 345 South Main St. to inspire people to register to vote.

"I think it's a great thing that they're doing," Quinn said. "I fully endorse it."

Quinn also said this is an especially exciting year for the presidential election and mentioned students taking summer classes and students from Orientation and Registration would be likely to register.

"It's a great year for enthusiasm," he said.

The cyclist team will travel from Sandusky, Ohio, to Bowling Green at 6 p.m., with voter registration from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The 47-day, 1,800 mile trek started from Vermont June 16 and will end in Wyoming Aug. 1, with stops in six major cities and visits to dozens of diners and restaurants in between.

The six cities include Buffalo, N.Y., Cleveland, Ohio, Chicago, Ill., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Omaha, Neb. and Laramie, Wyo.

Nathan Williams, 28, is one of the cyclists making the cross-country trek.

"It's a great cause," Williams said. "There are so many unregistered voters."

Williams is a junior at Middlebury College who's been biking for two years.

He said the group got together to bike after Road Captain Max MacDonald came up with the idea.

"I didn't know anyone until I went," Williams said.

So far the cyclists have gotten a positive response.

"People are really excited to see us," he said. "We're greeted by really friendly people."

Despite the first couple days of slower registration turnouts in small towns, Williams said the turnout has been really encouraging.

"We don't have the numbers, but we're really positive about the results so far," he said.

As for lasting the whole 1,800 miles, Williams is confident the bikers can finish the trek.

"There have been moments when I thought this was too hard ... [but] I think we'll make it," he said.

Williams encourages people to come out to meet them at Grounds for Thought Tuesday to meet the bikers and to promote voter awareness.

Additional Trek information and daily updates can be accessed at

The bicyclists represent Saint Michael's College, The University of Vermont, Lyndon State College of Vermont, Johnson State College and Middlebury College.

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