A week ago, Taylor Swift broke her infamous political silence to post on Instagram to her millions of followers. In the post, she shared she’ll be voting for Democrats Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper in their races in Tennessee and urged readers to register to vote, with a link to Vote.org.
Many people approached the post with skepticism; it’s understandable that folks are especially suspicious of celebrities who suddenly leap into talking politics. However, it seems that Swift’s post may have actually had an impact. BuzzFeed News said there was a “massive spike” in registrations, according to numbers from Vote.org director of communications Kamari Guthrie.
“Vote.org saw [Tennessee] registrations spike specifically since Taylor’s post,” Guthrie said. The organization has received 5,183 in the state so far this month — at least 2,144 of which were in the last 36 hours, she said, up from 2,811 new Tennessee voter registrations for the entire month of September and just 951 in August.
Taylor Swift is especially known for having a younger fan base. This may have had an impact on who chose to register in the day after her post. Vote.org spokesperson Janelle Grai told Tegna Media, via WHAS 11, an ABC affiliate in Louisville, Kentucky:
“We’re seeing a massive surge in the 18-24 and 25-29 voters, which is her fan demographic,” Grai wrote. “The 18[-]24 number almost doubled overnight.”
Based on numbers supplied by Vote[r].org, as of the writing of this article, 434,763 new voters had registered on their site since Swift’s post Sunday and 65% of those registrants were under 30.
The reach of Swift’s post was amplified by widespread media coverage, which could have compelled even more people to register to vote. I also noticed other celebrities had shared the link in the days leading up to the first round of voter registration cutoffs.
Unfortunately, we’ll never know for sure how many people directly registered due to Taylor Swift alone; however, it’s great to see a demographic that has historically low voter participation get more engaged before the midterms.