Taylor Swift’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 Swift shared her political views 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 U.S. submitted new registrations on Vote.org between Sunday and noon Tuesday, with about 42 percent of the registrants falling between ages 18 and 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 Tuesday, including Tennessee. Many other states have deadlines later this week or later in the month, before Election Day in November. Registrations usually surge as deadlines approach.
But the total number of people who have registered since Swift’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,” said the spokeswoman, Kamari Guthrie, 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 ages 18 and 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,” Brooks said. “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 Tennesseans who registered on Vote.org between May and September, according to the website, suggesting Swift’s post moved the needle there.
Other celebrities have joined in to urge their followers to visit Vote.org, including Rihanna, who Tuesday encouraged her 65 million Instagram followers to register.
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, Swift 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 Donald 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 race against a Republican candidate supported by Trump, and Rep. Jim Cooper, an incumbent in the Nashville area. She said that Bredesen’s opponent, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, “appalls and terrifies me,” noting that Blackburn had opposed same-sex marriage and the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
Swift 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,” Swift wrote.
Her post stirred widespread reaction on social media, largely along partisan lines, and drew a reaction from Trump on Monday.
“I’m sure Taylor Swift doesn’t know anything about” Blackburn, Trump said. “I like Taylor’s music about 25 percent less now, OK?”
As of Tuesday afternoon, Trump had not used his Twitter account to attack Swift, as he has done with others. But he was scheduled to eat lunch later this week with Swift’s No. 1 foe: Kanye West.