By Matthew Haag for The New York Times
Taylor’s decision to jump into politics over the weekend, announcing her support in an Instagram post for two Democrats in Tennessee and urging her 112 million followers to
register to vote, appears to have contributed to a flurry of last-minute registrations before deadlines in many states.
In the hours after Taylor shared her political views on Sunday, the voter registration site Vote.org recorded a flood of requests, both nationwide and in the pop superstar’s adopted home
state of Tennessee. More than 166,000 people across the United States submitted new registrations on Vote.org between Sunday and noon on Tuesday, with about 42 percent of the registrants falling
between the ages of 18 to 24, officials at the site said.
People have had plenty of reasons to rush to fill out voter applications this week: 18 states have some type of registration deadline on Tuesday, including Tennessee. Many other states
have deadlines later this week or later in the month, ahead of Election Day in November. Registrations usually surge as deadlines approach.
But the total number of people who have registered since Taylor’s post, especially young people, has exceeded the number of new registrations in any similar period since Vote.org launched in
2016, a company spokeswoman said. “We have never seen a 24- or 36- or 48-hour period like this,” the spokeswoman, Kamari Guthrie, said in an interview, adding that the current spike even
surpassed the one that occurred when former President Barack Obama mentioned the website. “This is leaps and bounds beyond what we typically see,” she said.
Officials at Vote.org who analyzed the applications since Sunday also noticed a drastic shift in the demographics of those who have registered. In October 2016, 405,000 people registered on
Vote.org, the largest age group being people in their 30s, said Raven Brooks, the website’s chief operating officer. That month, about 22 percent of the registrants were between the ages of 18 to
24, a far lower percentage than the 42 percent that registered in recent days. “The bottom line is that she did significantly impact registrations, and in interesting ways,” Mr. Brooks said in an
interview. “They are completely inverted from what we saw in 2016.”
More than 6,200 of the new registrations since Sunday came from Tennessee. That number matches the total number of Tennesseeans who registered on Vote.org between May and September, according to
the website, suggesting Taylor’s post moved the needle there. Other celebrities have joined in to urge their followers to visit Vote.org, including Rihanna, who on Tuesday encouraged her 65
million Instagram followers to register.
Mr. Brooks said that the site typically sees a spike in voter registrations in October. “But it’s not usually this younger set of voters. It’s skewed to such an extreme that it’s a pattern worth
identifying and calling out,” he said.
For years, Taylor has kept a carefully managed profile and stayed far away from the hot-button topic of politics. Until Sunday, some took her silence as evidence of her support for
President Trump and even the alt-right movement. But in her Instagram post, she pledged her support for two candidates in Tennessee: Phil Bredesen, who is competing in a close Senate
raceagainst a Republican candidate supported by Mr. Trump, and Representative Jim Cooper, an incumbent in the Nashville area. She said that Mr. Bredesen’s opponent, Representative Marsha
Blackburn, “appalls and terrifies me,” noting that Ms. Blackburn had opposed same-sex marriage and the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
Taylor cast herself as an advocate for equal rights and explained her support for the Democratic candidates based on those concerns. “I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to
fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love,” she wrote.
Her post stirred widespread reaction on social media, largely along partisan lines, and drew a reaction from Mr. Trump on Monday. “I’m sure Taylor Swift doesn’t know anything about” Ms.
Blackburn, Mr. Trump said. “I like Taylor’s music about 25 percent less now, O.K.?” As of Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Trump had not used his Twitter account to attack Taylor, as he has done with
Source: The New York Times