Vote: Because Justin Bieber can’t


With another round of municipal elections happening Oct. 25, 2010, come countless individuals, canvassers and lawn signs telling you who to vote for.

Just a week after the Ontario municipal elections, mid-term elections in the United States will take place choosing members of the US Congress and US House of Representatives as well as the majority of state governors.

We’ve all heard of “Rock the Vote,” a non-partisan and non-profit organization whose mission, using music, popular culture and new technologies, is to engage and encourage young Americans to participate in the political process by voting.

The organization has been extremely successful and over the last twenty years has registered more young people to vote than any other organization or campaign.

But this year, Campus Progress – the college spinoff of the Center for American Progress – has submitted its video to the video contest that, in an attempt to encourage youth to vote, focuses on the biggest celebrity in 2010 and perhaps even of the 21st century – according to millions of little girls – Justin Bieber.

The video is entitled “Do it for Bieber” and its message to the singer’s fans – many of which are ineligible to vote – is to encourage their friends, teachers and parents to vote for celebrities who can’t, like Justin Bieber.

The organization’s marketing technique is sure to strike gold, because if you’re trying to get a message to go viral, tying Justin Bieber in is the way to go.

With Bieber’s Twitter account exceeding 5.5 million followers and the singer’s own army of screaming, weeping and fainting fans around the world, Campus Progress may get what they’re asking for.

To get people to vote, forget about mentioning how important democracy is because of all those who fought for it at some point in history, or those poor souls somewhere far off who do not have the right to vote.

Now, voters need to hear that voting is crucial because in spite of how big Bieber Fever gets, Justin won’t reach puberty any quicker.

The voters must be his [uncracking] voice.

In spite of how endearing the whole situation is, the fact that Bieber must wait two more years before he can vote in any election does not quite tug at my heart in the way that Campus Progress would hope – it probably has something to do with his net worth.

Yet, the campaign is so ridiculous that it’s brilliant.

Canadian voter turnout statistics

58.8% – Overall turnout in 2008 federal election

52.6% – Overall turnout in 2007 provincial election

35.6% – Turnout in the 2008 federal election for 18-21 year-olds

979,610 – Less voters in the 2008 federal election than in 2006

Celebrities have long tried to get us to come out to the polls and though they may have encouraged some of us to register, statistics show that voter turnout is at an all-time low, especially among youth.

Campus Progress’ campaign is targeting “tweens” a new, larger niche market that is more demanding of their parents than ever before.

If organizations begin to focus more attention on youth who have many years to go before they are eligible to vote and use A-list celebrities like Justin Bieber, they just might be able to get young people to come out to the polls.

In addition to voicing dissatisfaction with politicians, campaign platforms and the electoral system, studies show that youth also cite administrative and personal issues as reasons for not voting in elections. These refer to a lack of knowledge about the registration process, where to vote on Election Day or simply a lack of time to do any of the above.

This means that organizations are not only pretty hip for using Justin Bieber’s name in their campaigns, but may also be following logic by ensuring that youth are educated enough about voting early on and ready to participate in the political process once they are eligible.

For most of us though, hearing that casting a vote in this month’s municipal elections is actually doing a favor for Justin Bieber would likely lead to demands for an end to democracy.

But I assure you that Bieber has nothing to do with this so vote away.

Serving the Waterloo campus, The Cord seeks to provide students with relevant, up to date stories. We’re always interested in having more volunteer writers, photographers and graphic designers.