In an effort to get young people to vote, a nonprofit called Headcount has been registering people at concerts. Presumably, these people are not under the influence of any substances as they sign themselves up.
Now, Headcount has gotten famous musicians to make robocalls asking those concert-goers to vote. Some lucky fans will get an actual, live call from a musician. (Read about it here.)
This is a photo of Bob Weir, a founding member of the Grateful Dead (photo courtesy of the band Rat Dog). He’s one of the callers.
The musicians’ messages will be nonpartisan. But the bigger questions are, why should anyone need urging from a famous musician to vote and, if someone votes because a musician told them to, is that good for democracy?
Now, I understand that celebrity endorsements are as old as the republic. (Here’s a commercial Pearl Bailey did for Gerald Ford in 1976, courtesy of livingroomcandidate.org.)
Headcount isn’t endorsing a candidate. It is just endorsing the act of voting.
But don’t we want young people, and anyone else for that matter, to vote because they understand the issues and are making educated, responsible choices? Prepared voters won’t need a celebrity to make them feel it’s cool to vote, and they won’t let Pearl Bailey (may she rest in peace) or anyone else sway them just because they are famous.