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A Taylor Swift Instagram post helped drive a surge in voter registration

Taylor Swift on the first night of her Eras tour, pictured earlier this year. The artist has often encouraged her fans to register to vote.
Suzanne Cordeiro
AFP via Getty Images
Taylor Swift on the first night of her Eras tour, pictured earlier this year. The artist has often encouraged her fans to register to vote.

When Taylor Swift speaks, her fans listen.

On Tuesday morning, the singer posted a short message on Instagram encouraging her 272 million followers to register to vote. Afterward, the website she directed her fans to — the nonpartisan nonprofit Vote.org — recorded more than 35,000 registrations, according to the organization.

"I've been so lucky to see so many of you guys at my U.S. shows recently. I've heard you raise your voices, and I know how powerful they are," she wrote on her Instagram Stories. "Make sure you're ready to use them in our elections this year!" Her post included a link to register at Vote.org.

The 35,252 new registrations on National Voter Registration Day were the most since 2020, the organization said, and a 23% jump over last year. The number of 18-year-olds registered was more than double 2022.

Andrea Hailey, CEO of Vote.org, called it a "highly encouraging sign of voter enthusiasm," especially among voters who are newly eligible since turning 18. "Time and time again young people are showing up and demonstrating they care about their rights and access to the ballot box," Hailey said in a statement.

It's not clear exactly how many of the registrations were tied to Swift's Instagram. Vote.org reported a 1,226% jump in participation in the hour after the post.

"Our site was averaging 13,000 users every 30 minutes – a number that Taylor Swift would be proud of," Hailey said, referencing Swift's affinity for the number 13.

Swift has previously encouraged her fans to register to vote, though for years she shied away from political endorsements. That changed in 2018, when she weighed in on the Tennessee congressional races in favor of the Democratic candidates. (Her appeal this week was nonpartisan.)

Her visibility is at a high this year amid her Eras tour — which could become the highest-grossing concert tour in history upon its completion next year — and the release of her re-recorded albums Speak Now, which landed in July, and 1989, which is on tap for release in October.

Since its inception in 2012, National Voter Registration Day has been supported by a number of nonprofit voting organizations such as the League of Women Voters and HeadCount, which works with musicians to register voters at concerts.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Becky Sullivan has reported and produced for NPR since 2011 with a focus on hard news and breaking stories. She has been on the ground to cover natural disasters, disease outbreaks, elections and protests, delivering stories to both broadcast and digital platforms.