People Magazine: Celebrities Are Rallying Volunteers to Help Voters Overcome ID Barriers: 'It's Not as Easy as It Should Be'
Several film and TV stars have already hosted VoteRiders events, and more featuring Jack Black and Sarah Silverman are coming up as the midterms quickly approach
Celebrity activists are jumping in to help American voters engage with the democratic process.
In partnership with VoteRiders — a nonpartisan organization dedicated to ensuring that states’ varied voter ID laws don’t prevent eligible Americans from voting — a roster of stars have helped rally volunteers to write letters and send texts to registered voters who may be facing barriers in casting their ballots.
VoteRiders has already partnered with names like Mark Ruffalo, Amy Schumer, Piper Perabo, Yvette Nicole Brown and Ed Helms this year to broaden its reach. Past partners have included Leonardo DiCaprio, Barbra Streisand and the cast of Hamilton.
With less than three weeks till the 2022 midterm elections, VoteRiders is on its final push to educate voters about their local identification requirements so that nobody is turned away on Nov. 8. The organization has enlisted the help of Jack Black and Sarah Silverman to host a couple of virtual events where volunteers will crank out letters and texts aiming to inform thousands more voters about how to prepare for Election Day.
“Our democracy works best when all of us are able to participate, but voter ID laws make it harder for millions of Americans to cast a ballot,” Lauren Kunis, CEO of VoteRiders, tells PEOPLE. “Your ability to make your voice heard in our elections should not depend on your zip code, your gender, where you go to college, how much money you have in your bank account, or anything else. But voter ID laws do just that, making it harder for eligible Americans to exercise their fundamental freedom to vote.”
Kunis notes that more than a dozen states have implemented either new or stricter voter ID laws since 2020, which runs the risk of catching voters off guard when they show up to the polls or causing their absentee ballots to be rejected.
“Voting is not easy in this country, it’s not as easy as it should be,” says The Office alum Ed Helms, who hosted a virtual letter-writing event on Tuesday. “In 36 states you need something more than just your voter registration in order to cast a vote and that usually means some sort of ID, government issued ID, or some additional hurdle. The frustrating thing is that it’s different in a lot of these states, it’s changing constantly, especially since 2020, and it’s hard to keep track of.”
VoteRiders’ letter-writing parties — where volunteers get hyped up by celebrity partners as they hand-write letters to at-risk voters — are a personalized and effective way to make contact with mass amounts of people who either don’t have government IDs on file or whose ballots were rejected in the primary election earlier this year, to make sure that they know how to get things in order for the general election.
On Monday at 7 p.m. ET, Vampire Diaries co-creator Julie Plec will join School of Rock‘s Jack Black for the last letter-writing party of the midterm election season, to both thank volunteers for their hard work and get one last stack of letters written. VoteRiders encourages new and existing volunteers to RSVP for the virtual event — no prior experience or training required.
Comedian Sarah Silverman will host one final text-banking event, also accepting new volunteers, on Thursday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m. ET to get some last-minute instructions out to voters.
“Our volunteers have written over 125,000 letters this year, and we couldn’t be more proud of their work,” says Kunis. “We know it’s making a difference where it matters most.”
Check your voter registration, locate your polling place, and make a voting plan at Vote.org to ensure that your voice is heard this election season.