On Tuesday, nonpartisan voter registration non-profit HeadCount announced that they have officially registered more than one million voters since forming in 2004—with nearly half of that total coming during the 2020 election cycle.
While the organization has spent most of the past decade and a half registering voters at concerts and music festivals (and their own all-star voter benefits), the COVID-19 pandemic forced HeadCount to entirely reinvent their voter registration efforts for online platforms in the thick of a consequential election year. Despite the limitations, HeadCount channeled the power of music and viral media to sign up an unprecedented number of new voters.
HeadCount utilized their “Check Your Status” tool to incentivize and track online voter registrations throughout the year. From YouTube star David Dobrik giving away five Teslas to encourage 120,000 people to register from a single Instagram post to teaming up with Global Citizen to give away rare memorabilia and once-in-a-lifetime experiences with Bob Weir, Dave Matthews, Billie Eilish, Lenny Kraviz via the Just Vote campaign to teaming with Live For Live Music to bring together 50+ artists for virtual music festival Democracy Comes Alive and beyond, HeadCount managed to use their tools to make an undeniable impact on civic participation.
“The pandemic created challenges, but the election wasn’t going to wait for concerts to come back so we just had to get more creative,” said live music entrepreneur Peter Shapiro, HeadCount’s board chair. “Our internal goal, which was set when we were still organizing around concerts, was to register 200,000 new voters. We ended up with over 425,000 for this election and it got us to 1 million all time.”
HeadCount’s campaigns this year go beyond voter registration. Last month, they launched their “Make Your Vote Count” campaign, which seeks to educate voters about common mistakes that can put their ballot at risk of being invalidated. They’ve also launched the “How to Talk to Your Friends about Voting” campaign, which serves as a resource guide to help young people start the conversation with friends about voting without feeling awkward or frustrated.
“I’ve watched the organization grow from an idea to a force,” said Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, who has been on HeadCount’s board since the beginning. “And now we’ve found new ways to connect and increase voter turnout when it’s more important than ever.”
For more information about HeadCount, head here.
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