Billie Eilish took to social media on Thursday to announce her new voting initiative to inspire first-time voters to pledge to vote.
"Hello!" the pop star kicked off the video. "So, I wish that I didn't have to be making this video because I really wish I could just not give a f--k and it would be fine, and I wouldn't have to worry about any of this stuff. But as much as I don't want to be involved in this f--king s--t, as in politics and as in this election, I think it is incredibly important that we all involve ourselves. Even if we'd rather stab ourselves in the face than talk about it, we need to talk about it."
Eilish encouraged her fans to text "BILLIE" to 50409 to register to vote in time for the 2020 Presidential Election on November 3 or double-check the status of their registration.
"It's basically a pledge," she explained. "Just because I think that I'm gonna need a promise from a lot of you guys, especially a lot of you new 18-year-olds. Like me, this is gonna be my first time voting. I used to not care about this kinda thing, and I think it's really, really important that you care... Register to vote. Please vote. It really, really matters."
Many celebrities have been encouraging fans to register to vote, however, Billie's message is especially notable because of her incredibly young fan base. Like many of her young fans, Billie herself is just 18 years old and is voting for the first time.
The 18- to 24-year-old voting demographic has been decreasing steadily. The youth have been consistently underrepresented at the vote and in the last election in 2016 18- to 29-year-olds reported only a 46.1 percent voter turnout. This is especially discouraging as many policy areas specifically affect the youth of the United States, such as education issues, gun control, and the juvenile justice system.
The two-party system has culminated this year in two elderly candidates who don't exactly speak to young people's vision of the future. Even so, it is not an issue of apathy, young people are more politically engaged than ever. In the past few years, there has been a surge in youth activism, demonstrated for example by the youth-led global climate strike and global Black Lives Matter protests. This is why it's more important than ever to motivate first-time voters to get to the polls.
Many people who just turned 18 are extremely plugged into the issues, they just need peers like Billie Eilish to encourage them earnestly, and not some 70-year-old candidate pandering to the youth vote.
If you're a first-time voter and don't know where to start, head over to our voting guide, which covers everything from registering to vote to casting your ballot at the polls.