Voting has never been cooler

Local kitesurfer takes to the skies to get people to vote.

Nevin Sayers surfing with his vote.org kite.

Nevin Sayre is taking voting to new heights with a kitesurfing video highlighting vote.org, a nonpartisan website aimed at getting all those who are eligible to register to vote.

Sayre, a Vineyard Haven resident and kitesurfing enthusiast, spent summers and learned sailing on the Island growing up, before his parents moved to the Island full-time.

Speaking to The Times after being out on the water, Sayre said his involvement with Vote.org began when a person on the ferry sent him a video of himself kiteboarding. After that, a friend of a friend sent a photo of Sayre kitesurfing, and he had the idea that he could put something on his kite that lots of people would see.

“With the election and everything else that’s going on in the world, we all need to chip in and do something,” Sayre said.

The decision then came down to what the message on his kite should be — he decided on something he felt most people could get behind.

“Vote.org is just a very generic, nonpartisan tool,” Sayre said. “The basics: Are you registered, where’s your local polling place, etc.”

Sayre found a designer in Newport, R.I. who put the Vote.org text on two of his kites. He then had a sticker made for his board, which he applied himself. Since he began flying his Vote.org kite across Vineyard waters, the response from the public has been positive.

Sayre then decided to go even further, and make a video of his kitesurfing with his son’s best friend, Charlie Morano Jr.

“It’s got the Vineyard flavor,” he said. “I’m hopeful that it will just go broader. I encourage anyone who sees it, likes it, to send it to their friends, particularly in purple states, and just get it out there.”

Sayre has no connection with Vote.org, but he sent them the video, and they “loved it.” He said they plan to use it on their social media outreach. 

Sayre says he wants to see voter turnout increase across the country. In 2016, 61.4 percent of the citizen voting-age population reported voting, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. He also hopes others may follow suit and advertise Vote.org on skateboards, bicycles, or anything else. He’d also like to see voting access improved in the U.S., but said he at least wants to see increased turnout.

“It’s not only this amazing right we have that’s fundamental to our country, but is actually our obligation to vote,” Sayre said. “Anything less than 90 percent, for me, is unacceptable, but let’s at least get it toward 75 percent.”