In the lead-up to the Nov. 6 midterm elections, Billboard reached out to artists across the musical spectrum with a simple request: complete the phrase “I’m voting because…” Below are answers from producer/songwriter Justin Tranter, rappers DMC and YBN Cordae, Tom Morello, Brandi Carlile, Prince Royce, Kim Viera and several others, whose answers touch on protecting the rights of every eligible American to vote, protecting the rights of women, LGBTQ citizens and immigrants and to exercise our civic responsibility.
… democracy is a very fragile thing if you don’t take care of it, and the only way for us as citizens to take care of it is to vote.
(The legendary rapper recently completed a new song called “Missed Opportunity” for his upcoming solo album; his response quotes from the lyrics of that song)
… I don’t want a missed opportunity/ I don’t want to ever regret/ I’m (in) the midst of all this stupidity/ Everything wrong it’s up to us to correct!
… I have a family that is comprised of exclusively women, lgbtq people, one immigrant and two little girls. All of which are in danger of oppression if we don’t change the direction this country is headed in. Voting is the beginning of the soul saving mission.
… you can’t complain about anything if you haven’t exercised your right. You have no excuse no matter who you are, what’s going on in your life, what color you are, everyone needs to exercise their right to vote. Get off your ass, get out there and vote.
… a lotta good people sacrificed, suffered and died during the civil rights movement so I could vote. I also vote because the Koch Brothers don’t want me to, and that feels good. But I vote with the understanding that voting alone is not enough to change systemic economic and racial injustice. Each of us are potential agents of history. History is not something that happens, history is something that YOU can MAKE. That however requires hard work, commitment and organizing before, during and after Election Day. So let’s get going.
Tony Oller (MKTO)
… in my country I’m allowed. I’m allowed to speak my voice, I’m allowed to disagree with whomever is in office. Not many people realize that this is not something every country has. Take advantage of what we have.
Malcolm Kelley (MKTO)
… my voice matters and we need a change.
… it’s important if you want to see a real change. It’s awesome for younger people and people of all ages to go out and vote. It’s important to vote for the America you want.
Sarah McTaggart (Transviolet)
… our future depends on it. I’m voting to protect our environment, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights, reform law enforcement, and to remove this cancerous administration out of power. I’m scared that if I don’t vote now, if we all don’t take action now, we might not have the opportunity to peacefully do so in the future. The discrediting of the press, the gaslighting, the blaming/dehumanization of immigrants, the voter suppression… history tells us these are all warning signs of a dictator in the making. I truly believe the president is mentally unstable, power hungry, and devoid of any moral compass. He is the definition of a demagogue, and a predator. He is pandering to and exploiting the good faith of the poor, the uneducated and the evangelicals. We have to get him and his lackeys out of office now, before our rights our etched away beyond repair.
Molly Sides (Thunderpussy)
… the only way to thrive and evolve is to use this tool we’re so fortunate to have. This tool so many fought for before us. This tool that connects us. Your voice. Your choice. Your vote. I believe in progress for all people.
Leah Julius (Thunderpussy)
… in the words of Laura Jane Grace: I believe in a power that is of and by the people.
Ruby Dunphy (Thunderpussy)
… I have the privilege to be heard in a country where so many other voices are silenced.
… I think it is important to vote because whenever we don’t vote we leave the decision in other people’s hands and given how things are currently in this country it’s best to take the initiative get out and vote and let your voice be heard!!
… so many before me went through so much for me to have the opportunity to even vote. I can’t take their sacrifices for granted.
Thao Nguyen (Thao & The Get Down Stay Down)
… [and whatever else Swing Left suggests because] let me be smote down by a bolt of shame if I don’t do everything I can to help flip the house and stop the hell fire.
… a voice with no action is no voice at all. If we aren’t a united front as a country then our foundation and everything we believe in falls apart as a whole. Take for instance everything that happened last year in Puerto Rico with Hurricane Maria. I think our island deserved better; we could have done more to help rebuild and they are still picking up the pieces. The United States has become one big reality tv series with a genuine lack of empathy, kindness and action to change. We can’t stand by and do nothing because we are called for so much more than that. Let’s vote for love, change and compassion.
John Flansburgh (They Might Be Giants)
… to help end voter suppression of racial minorities.
… [As I have done in the past, I am voting via absentee ballot because] I strongly feel that voting is our responsibility as citizens and the best way to make our voices heard.
… I want to curate my own future by using my voice not someone else’s.
… I can’t vote because I’m an immigrant, so please vote on behalf of those who don’t have a voice.
… Each one of us can be a change-maker, and one way to do it is to turn up our voice in the voting booth. In the last election 12 million Latinos voted. We can double that because there are 12 million more Latinos eligible to register, and every year nearly a million more turn 18 and become eligible. Let’s give each other a hand. Because in unity there is strength, and together we can double the strength of our vote! No matter what issue is more important to you — health care, immigration, education or jobs — each one of us needs to do our part to be part of the change we want to see. The United States is a powerful country because of its people, because of the strength of its diversity and because diversity makes us stronger. We must use every tool at our disposal — voting is one of them. If you are eligible, become a voter. And then help someone else do the same.
–Additional reporting by Taylor Weatherby, Jessica Roiz and Leila Cobo.