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The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Moments & Movements: Celebrities’ Influence on Voter Registration

Taylor+Swift+is+supporting+Phil+Bredesen+and+Jim+Cooper+in+the+upcoming+elections.
PHOTO COURTESY/Instagram TaylorSwift
Taylor Swift is supporting Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper in the upcoming elections.

Taylor Swift, known for being reluctant to voice her political opinions, recently broke her silence and encouraged fans to register to vote, resulting in a huge voter registration turnout.

On Oct. 7, the singer-songwriter announced that she would be voting for Tennessee’s Democratic Senate candidate, Phil Bredesen.

“I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives,” Swift wrote in an Instagram post.

“Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting!”

Within 24 hours of Swift’s Instagram post, Kamari Guthrie, director of communications for the nonprofit Vote.org, told Buzzfeed that voter registration numbers had both dramatically spiked nationally and in Swift’s home state of Tennessee.

“We are up to 65,000 registrations in a single 24-hour period since T. Swift’s post,” Guthrie said.

Guthrie also revealed that traffic to her organization had increased after Swift’s post, bringing in 155,940 unique visitors to Vote.org in the 24 hours following, compared to the average number of daily users of 14,078.

During her Artist of the Year acceptance speech at the 2018 American Music Awards (AMA) in Los Angeles, Swift also told fans to go out and vote. “This award and every single award given out tonight were voted on by the people, and you know what else is voted on by the people?” Swift asked the audience. “It is the midterm elections on November 6. Get out and vote. I love you guys.”

AMA Host and Golden Globe-winning actress Tracee Ellis Ross and comedian-actor Billy Eichner also encouraged voter registration during the AMAs.

Many other celebrities have also spoken up about voting on their social media, including Billy Ray Cyrus, who tweeted an acoustic version of his song “Goddess of Democracy” and wrote, “This is your chance to make your voice heard.”

Rihanna also posted the deadlines for registration in an Instagram post. “We don’t have time, no procrastinating, don’t let the discouragement take you off course, that’s not how my people or my generation will go down…this is the loudest way to make your voice heard!” the singer wrote.

It doesn’t stop there. Kim Kardashian West, Chance The Rapper, John Legend, Janelle Monáe, Eva Longoria and Tom Hanks, among many other celebrities, have also urged their fans to register and vote.

Even Beyoncé gave her fans the opportunity to register at her “On The Run II” tour. Twitter has also shown efforts by creating their “#BeAVoter” campaign, which includes a special emoji and shows up on user’s timelines, encouraging them to register. MTV has also launched “+1thevote” campaign, which encourages people to bring their plus one to vote with them.

Celebrities and organizations have been trying to push young people to register and vote.

This year, the campaigns and encouragement of celebrities aimed to turn the process of voter registration and voting into a cultural event to remind them that voting is important and can even be liberating.

 

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About the Contributor
Destinee Scott
Destinee Scott, Opinion Editor
Destinee Scott, the Torch's Opinion Editor, has been writing for the Opinion section since 2018. She's known for her women's column, the Wave of Women! Destinee was a Staff Writer for uInterview and previously a Graphics Design Intern for The U.S. Department of Energy. She also recently started a blog discussing sex and relationship related topics. This year, Destinee hopes to make the Opinion section of the Torch an outlet for individuals to fully express themselves and their thoughts (and to expand the women's column too!). You can reach Destinee at [email protected].
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