Go vote because…?

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.

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About the Author

Jay Evensen

Jay Evensen is the Senior Editorial Columnist for the Deseret News. He has 32 years of journalism experience covering politics and a variety of other assignments at news organizations ranging from United Press International in New York City to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Deseret News, where he has worked since 1986. During that time, he has won numerous local, regional and national awards. Most recently, he was given the Cameron Duncan Media Award, given annually in Washington, D.C., by the advocacy group RESULTS, to the journalist judged to have done the most to further the cause of the world's poorest people.

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