On September 28th, Kylie Jenner posted a bikini pic to her Instagram account with a simple message: “But are you registered to vote? click the link in my bio.. let’s make a plan to vote together.” The link in Jenner’s bio directed her followers to Vote.org’s voter registration tool, which instantly saw a massive increase in traffic and an 80% boost in voter registration on the popular website. That’s not surprising, considering Jenner has nearly 200 million followers on Instagram … more than the population of France, Italy, and the United Kingdom combined!
Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to reach — and influence — massive amounts of people. That’s why Fight for the Future has launched a new website, SaveDemocracy.Online, to keep track of which influential celebrities are using social media to get the vote out in 2020, and which ones aren’t doing anything. With the click of a button, you can send a message to these celebrities urging them to pitch in and help save democracy.
It may not seem like much, but if we can get just a few artists, athletes, or companies to participate in voter outreach, it could be nothing short of game-changing.
Every vote counts
Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election in large part due to fewer than 80,000 ballots cast in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida. And that’s not the first time a presidential election was decided by a small number of people. The 2000 election was famously decided by 537 votes in Florida. Going back even further into America’s history, the 1916 election hinged on 3,773 votes cast in California.
History could be very different if a few hundred or a few thousand more people showed up to the polls in any given election. Unfortunately, low voter turnout has always been a problem in the United States, with participation hovering around 55% for the past hundred years. But there’s reason to hope that 2020 might be different.
Influencers are helping turn out the vote early
Artists, athletes, and even big-name businesses have never been more vocal about the importance of voting. Former First Lady Michelle Obama launched an initiative called When We All Vote, encouraging schools, city officials, and ordinary people all across America to help get out the vote. Celebrities like Shaq, Oprah, Snoop Dogg, and Stephen Colbert have urged their followers on social media to register to vote and show up to the polls. And many tech companies from Airbnb to LiveNation and Spotify have used their platforms to participate in voter registration efforts.
It’s difficult to say just how much each of these efforts has moved the needle … but it’s easy to see that the needle is moving. 61 million people have already voted in the 2020 election, thanks to early voting and an increased demand for absentee ballots. Some analysts believe as many as 150 million ballots may be cast this year, dwarfing the 129 million ballots cast in 2016.
However, there’s no guarantee that people will continue voting at this record-breaking level through November 3rd. It’s possible that mail-in voting has simply replaced in-person voting for millions of people, or that people who see reports of record turnout will decide that they don’t need to show up on election day. That’s why we must continue to keep the pressure on, and continue our efforts to get out the vote.
How you can help
Not every celebrity is using social media to encourage their followers to vote. Not every company is using its platform to participate in voter registration efforts. But every tweet, every Facebook post, and every Instagram story has the ability to drive a few more people to the polls. And yet, some people with the power to influence millions of others are staying silent about the one non-partisan issue that allows us the opportunity to determine our own fate: voting.
We encourage everyone to visit SaveDemocracy.Online and check out our Hall of Fame to see which celebrities are doing the most to help turnout voters in the upcoming election. Then check out our Hall of Shame to see who hasn’t lifted a finger to help out. If you have a Twitter account, we’ve made it easy for you to tweet at these powerful influencers with a click of the button, urging them to pitch in and do their part to save democracy in the USA.
And, of course, please make sure you’re registered to vote and cast your ballot in this year’s election election. You can do it by mail, you can vote early, or you can show up to your polling location on November 3rd. We need to make sure everyone votes so that our elected officials represent each and every one of us.
Our future depends on it.