updated 3/1/2004 12:14:29 PM ET 2004-03-01T17:14:29

In the coming days, Republicans will step up their push to register 3 million voters this year with the help of an election-year prop — an 18-wheeler full of computers, plasma TVs and multimedia equipment designed to communicate the GOP message.

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Republicans will be taking the truck around the country the week of March 6-13 as part of their plan to register 1 million new voters with the help of local volunteers, elected officials and party leaders in various communities.

Republican national Chairman Ed Gillespie said the idea of the 18-wheeler as a marketing tool was borrowed from private industry, which sometime uses such big vehicles to draw the curious at public events.

“We want to bring new people into the party,” Gillespie said, “especially young people and people who are not traditionally Republican voters” such as Hispanics and blacks. He said the GOP voter drive has already registered about 500,000 new voters at various events, including the Daytona 500.

Wednesday launch
The Republican National Committee plans formally to introduce the concept of the big rig Wednesday in front of national headquarters. It will travel around the country over the next eight months to help register voters at campuses, NASCAR races, parades, ethnic festivals and other events.

In the tradition of marketing efforts in private industry, the RNC has even given the big truck a name — “Reggie the Registration Rig.”

A push to register an equal number of Democrats gets under way Tuesday when a political action committee launches its “ReDefeat Bush” campaign. The Committee to ReDefeat the President hopes to mobilize 20,000 volunteers to register 50 Democrats each, said the group’s founder, David Lytel, a former Internet adviser in the Clinton administration.

Volunteers will meet in Washington and call or write unregistered voters in areas of Democratic strength with the hope of signing them up in time to vote in their states’ primary. Tuesday night’s efforts will focus on unregistered households in the Northeastern Pennsylvania city of Wilkes-Barre. The state holds its Democratic primary April 27.

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