LOS ANGELES — Hollywood celebrities will make an effort next week to urge young people to go to the polls in Tuesday’s election, as control of Congress and many state governorships hang in the balance.
In a one-of-a-kind event, more than 50 actors, comedians and YouTube stars will join a two-hour telethon broadcast live Monday night aimed at appealing to young voters, the age group least likely to vote . .
Stars won’t ask for money during “Telethon for America.” Instead, they will urge viewers to call a celebrity phone bank and pledge to vote the next day.
Comedian Chelsea Handler, who quit her Netflix talk show a year ago to focus on activism, said she thinks young people expect “older, more responsible adults “act to solve problems through government.
“They just think someone else is going to take care of it, it’s not their problem and they may not be directly affected by it,” Handler, who is 43, said in an interview.
Turnout in midterm elections is traditionally lower than in presidential elections. Reuters poll found that in October only 25% of people aged 18 to 29 said they were sure they would vote in the election, the lowest percentage of any age group.
On Friday, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt added their voices to the campaign to get the vote.
“This election could be the most important of our lifetimes,” DiCaprio said in a video message with Pitt posted on social media, mentioning issues such as gun control, the environment and immigration, without making reference to any political party.
While organizers of Monday’s event say it’s a nonpartisan effort, increased turnout by young voters could help Democrats. Forty percent of people in this age group identified as Democrats, while 22% called themselves Republicans.
Jane Fonda, Charlize Theron, Judd Apatow and others will participate in the telethon. Created by comedian Ben Gleib, the telethon will be broadcast live from a YouTube production space outside of Los Angeles on YouTube, Facebook Live and the Comedy Central website.
Viewers will be directed to information on how and where to vote in the elections.
The election, widely seen as a referendum on Republican President Donald Trump, represents a chance for Democrats to break his party’s stranglehold on Congress. Opinion polls show Democrats have a good chance of winning the net 23 seats they need for a majority in the House of Representatives, but only a slim chance of winning back the Senate.
The telethon could give further impetus to a trend already underway: there has been a big increase in early voting among young voters this year. Initial estimates modeled from survey responses, voter registrations and other data show huge increases in early voter turnout among 18-29 year olds compared to the last midterm elections in 2014.
While Hollywood is known for supporting liberal causes and many celebrities are fierce critics of Trump, organizers said the telethon does not endorse any party.
Handler, a registered independent who supports Democrats in this election, said she would not take any jabs at Trump during the event.
“It’s about unification,” Handler said. “It’s about encouraging everyone to vote. Listen, I want Republicans to vote too.”
The telethon is supported by When We All Vote, a nonpartisan campaign launched by former first lady Michelle Obama to encourage voting.
It is unclear to what extent celebrities influence voting, but there is evidence of influence in some cases. Website Vote.org said 413,000 new voters registered in the first four days after pop superstar Taylor Swift urged fans to register in early October, up from 190,000 in September.
Fonda, who is 80 and famous in her youth for her activism against the Vietnam War, said she hopes young people recognize what is at stake.
“More than any other election that I can remember, this particular election is going to determine whether we can continue to call ourselves a democracy, whether we are going to be able to live in a country of different people and really get along and love each other. “, she said.
Handler said she will encourage people to make a plan to vote and bring friends and make it fun.
“We just have to inspire people to be cool kids,” she added. “It’s cool to vote.”