Taylor Swift statement inspires voter registration surge

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Channeling the fear about the future that two-thirds of her generation faces, Swift connected her "Tennessee values" to critical votes that a member of Congress takes, chipping away at one of the most significant barriers to voting, which is seeing the tangible impact that participation can make.

Kamari Guthrie, director of communications for the nonprofit Vote.org, told Buzzfeed that numbers had spiked both nationally and in Swift's home state of Tennessee after the singer's post Sunday on Instagram.

Taylor Swift making a rare political statement has apparently inspired a big surge in voter registrations - and luckily Vote.org was ready for it. By comparison, the group said 56,669 new voters registered in August and 190,178 registered in September. Writing that she's "been reluctant to publicly voice" her political opinions in the past, "several events" in her life and the world have made her feel differently.

Swift's post drew criticism from Donald Trump, who told reporters on Monday, "Marsha Blackburn is doing a very good job in Tennessee".

"I'm sure Taylor Swift doesn't know anything about (Blackburn)", Trump said. "And let's say that I like her music 25 per cent less now, okay?"

The 28-year-old Shake It Off star said she felt compelled to speak out because she believes in "the fight for LGBTQ rights" and that "any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG".

"Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values", she said. She will perform "I Did Something Bad" from her multi-platinum album, "reputation".

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Blackburn's voting record, Swift wrote, "appalls and terrifies me, " noting Blackburn's votes against equal pay for women and the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

In a surprise Instagram post Sunday, the music megastar broke her long silence on politics and encouraged her more than 112 million followers on the platform to register to vote. She also advised fans to vote for incumbent Democratic Congressman Jim Cooper. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. (In a typical day the site sees 14,000 visitors.) Of those that visited yesterday, 65,000 registered to vote.

Model Chrissy Teigen, actress Blake Lively and singer Perry were among those adding "likes" to Swift's Instagram post. "She also believes they should not have the right to marry".

In a number of states, the deadline to register to vote is today, October 9th.

The White House this week confirmed President Trump and adviser Jared Kushner would have lunch with West on Thursday.

She's not the first artist to endorse Bredesen, a former Tennessee governor who has been helped in his current campaign by four-time Grammy-winner Jason Isbell and rocker Ben Folds.

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