Taylor Swift took her Instagram campaign encouraging fans to register as voters another step forward at the Tuesday night American Music Awards. The 28-year-old superstar accepted the award for artist of the year by urging participation in the November elections. “This award and every single award given out tonight were voted on by the people, and you know what else is voted on by the people?” Swift asked the audience. “It is the midterm elections on November 6. Get out and vote. I love you guys.”
In a Sunday Instagram post, Swift endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen, a Democrat who is running against Republican nominee U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn in a closely watched race to fill the seat left vacant by the retirement of U.S. Sen. Bob Corker. She pointed fans to Vote.org as a quick and easy way to register.
“In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now,” the 28-year-old pop star wrote. One of those events may have been the court battle that found ex-Denver DJ David Mueller guilty of groping her. Swift made her return to the public eye last year after her victory advocating for sexual assault victims.
“As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn,” Swift wrote on Instagram. “Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking and date rape.”
In addition to criticizing Blackburn’s voting record on women’s and LGBTQ issues, Swift also said that “the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent.”
The post already has been liked almost 2 million times. More than 65,000 people registered to vote in the 24-hour period following Swift’s post, according to Kamari Guthrie, Vote.org director of communications. The singer’s home state of Tennessee saw 5,183 new registrations so far this month. At least 2,144 came in the 36 hours after Swift’s post. That compares to the 951 voters who registered in August and the 2,811 voters who registered in September.
“Thank God for Taylor Swift,” Guthrie told Buzzfeed News.
She said Vote.org saw its second-busiest day of the year after Swift’s post with 155,940 unique visitors. That number ranked as the non-profit’s biggest day since National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 25, when the site saw 304,942 unique visitors. The daily average to the website numbers 14,078 visitors.
The Tuesday, Oct. 9 voter registration deadline in 19 states also may have been a contributor to the surge in registrations.
President Trump called Blackburn “a tremendous woman” in response to Swift’s Instagram post. “I’m sure Taylor Swift doesn’t know anything about her,” Trump said. “Let’s say that I like Taylor’s music about 25 percent less now.”