With only about two weeks to go until Election Day on November 3rd, this year’s Presidential election is proving to be very different compared to the 2016 election.
If it weren’t for the coronavirus pandemic, droves of people would line up at their local libraries, churches, and schools to cast their ballots on Election Day. However, because of COVID-19, this year many Americans are casting their ballots weeks ahead to protect themselves from the virus.
According to the US Election Project, over 22 million Americans had voted early by Friday, October 16th, either in person or by mail. At the same time during the 2016 presidential election, this number was only at 6 million.
Early voters have formed long queues in several states across the United States, some even waiting as long as 11 hours to cast their vote in what is one of the most important election years in American history. This year the American people are voting for 35 Senate seats, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, and the Office of the President of the United States.
As we anxiously approach November, big-name celebrities are continuing to use radio and social media to share their personal and heartfelt reasons for voting.
Back in August, the number one audio company in the United States, iHeartMedia, launched “Why I’m Voting,” a non-partisan campaign that asks celebrities (including musicians, cultural influencers, and athletes) to share their 2020 voting stories. The campaign and special podcast series began on August 10th and is running right until Election Day.
iHeartMedia has opened up its over 850 broadcast radio stations in 160 markets, podcasts, social media platforms and iHeartRadio App to give its 278 million listeners a chance to answer the important question: “Why am I voting?”
For several weeks listeners have been hearing the thoughts of some of today’s biggest celebrities and cultural leaders and the recordings of other listeners who have recorded and submitted their 20 second or less audio or video message at iheartradio.com/vote.
Celebrities in the campaign have included singers Adam Lambert, Billie Eilish, John Legend, Selena Gomez and Jewel. Comedians have also been sharing their thoughts, including Chelsea Handler and Will Ferrell.
“With voter turnout expected to hit record numbers on Election Day, ‘Why I’m Voting’ presents a rare opportunity for people of all backgrounds and beliefs to have their voices heard by millions of their fellow Americans before we cast our votes in November,” remarked John Sykes, President of Entertainment Enterprises for iHeartMedia.
This is not an easy election year. The nation has been heavily divided and with the coronavirus pandemic looming, making voting a concern for millions of Americans.
In fact, according to a Pew Research Center survey of registered voters that was conducted on July 27th to August 2nd, more Americans this year are expect voting to be difficult compared to 2018. Roughly 49% of the voters have said that they expect voting this year to be very or somewhat difficult. In 2018, this number in comparison was just 15%.
Despite the difficulty, voting is still one of the most important rights and responsibilities that U.S. citizens should regularly be involved in. Your voice needs to be heard, especially with such an important election.
Actor and comedian Will Ferrell was a guest on iHeartMedia’s “Why I’m Voting” podcast and remarked, “I would just point to, regardless of who your candidate is and who your beliefs line up with, you can’t kind of sit back and relax and rely on [things] just to happen. It just all points to how important it is to literally take the time, carve that moment out of your day or whether you have to do early voting or absentee or whatever is, it’s a very small thing, in a way, that can have massive ramifications. And that’s what we have to always keep in mind.”
The internet and social media are allowing young voters, who make up the biggest portion of the voting population, to form a clear picture of the candidates and their platforms. As a newly 18-year-old, Grammy winner Billie Eilish will vote for the very first time this year.
She took to social media in October with a video and said, ”So, I wish that I didn’t have to be making this video because I really wish I could just not give a f*** and it would be fine, and I wouldn’t have to worry about any of this stuff. But as much as I don’t want to be involved in this f****** s***, as in politics and as in this election, I think it is incredibly important that we all involve ourselves.”
There are many important topics at hand with this election, and every American citizen has the privilege and duty to decide what they want. These are issues that will affect the country for years to come, so make sure you get out there and vote!