Celebrities are using bikini pics to encourage voter registration. Data shows it's working.
Zoe Kravitz, Kylie Jenner and Lisa Rinna all used the "rick roll" tactic. (Photos: Instagram)
Celebrities are reminding fans to register to vote by posting bikini pictures on their Instagram accounts. But does provocative posing actually get people to vote, or is it just another trick for clicks?
It's actually more powerful than you might think. A recent bikini photo post by Kylie Jenner, in which the media personality and entrepreneur urged their followers to vote using the link in their bio, resulted in a 1,500 percent increase in users on the Vote.org website. The non-partisan website has been around since 2008 and has registered more than 4.5 million voters to date. And that number can keep growing thanks to celebrities with large and active fan bases.
"Celebrities definitely play a role in helping us meet voters where they are, especially young voters," Andrea Hailey, CEO of Vote.org, told Yahoo Life. "Not every young American is politically active, so sometimes it takes a celebrity to remind them why their voice matters and what power the vote has to decide issues that are important to them."
Other celebrities have also done their part. For example, Broad City's Ilana Glazer created the hashtag # horny4thapolls to use the power of celebrity sex appeal to motivate people to vote. Glazer's appeal does not include the Vote.org website, but rather a cheat sheet for voters with more progressive learning, especially in tight-racing states like Florida and Arizona.
Several other famous people have already joined Glazer's efforts, including actress and singer Zoe Kravitz, Lisa Rinna, and model Tess Holiday. Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, Tiffany Haddish, Josh Gad, Sarah Silverman and other well-known comedians and actors are pulling out in a separate video with the hashtag #NakedBallots that inspires people to do their civic duty.
While showing more skin comes in at least somewhat useful in attracting attention to the election, Hailey says that many notable people have simply used their platforms to remind people to participate in the electoral process - and all while they are fully clothed.
“We saw other celebrity posts on social media directing their followers to register and vote. Some examples would be Taylor Swift, Frank Ocean, Rihanna, and Barack Obama, ”she says.
Regarding the recipient of the message, Hailey is offering data from Vote.org showing that those who register on their platform are predominantly in the 25- to 34-year-old age group (27 percent), followed by younger ones Voters ages 18 to 24 (20 percent) - a group known for not voting frequently. However, she says that amid the summer protests there seems to be an even bigger surge in activism among young people that, along with memories from her favorite reports, could keep her occupied by November.
“Celebrities and influencers speaking out on these topics have ... helped build that energy and keep it going through Election Day and beyond. They help break down this barrier to political engagement by relating it and ultimately facilitating voting. By getting more people to vote, we are creating a stronger, more representative democracy, ”she says.
As for motivation, Hailey says that while party affiliation doesn't always have to be registered, her data suggests that "2.3 times as many Democrats registered as Republicans" among those who revealed their party.
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