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Taylor Swift contributes to spike in voter registrations

October 11, 2018

Pop star Taylor Swift’s political Instagram post may be the cause of a voter registration bump in Nebraska.

On Sunday night, Swift ended her political neutrality, endorsed Democrats in Tennessee congressional races and encouraged her more than 112 million followers to register to vote.

She directed people to register on Vote.org, the website of a nonpartisan group that seeks to increase voter turnout.

The number of registrations Nebraska received via that website went up from 72 on Saturday to 146 on Monday, according to the Nebraska Secretary of State’s Office.

Online registrations via the secretary of state’s website also jumped, from 551 on Saturday to 1,345 on Monday.

Although the numbers appear to be Swift-aided, her appeal doesn’t come in a vacuum. At this time of year, political parties and nonprofits are busy holding registration events and urging registration with online ads.

So, how much credit the pop star can take is hard to tell.

Vote.org spokeswoman Kamari Guthrie said Tuesday that 169,000 new people nationwide had registered to vote since Sunday. Of those, she said, more than half were ages 18 to 29.

“One thing is clear, we’re seeing a massive surge in the 18-24 and 25-29 voters, which is her fan demographic. The 18-24 number almost doubled overnight,” Guthrie said. “Taylor Swift’s visibility on this issue is driving a lot of coverage of voter registration, and it’s reaching many of her fans who would not otherwise be following news like this.”

The number of people registering to vote through the site was 240,329 so far in October. By comparison, in October 2016, there were 405,149 new registrations on Vote.org for the whole month.

Swift implored her followers to “please, please educate yourself” on their local candidates and to vote.

“For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100 percent on every issue, but we have to vote anyway,” Swift wrote. “So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count.”

This report includes material from the Washington Post.

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