Alicia Keys, America Ferrera, Kerry Washington and a myriad of Hollywood stars joined forces to celebrate the power of voting in the Every Vote Counts: A Celebration of Democracy special broadcast on CBS Thursday night (Oct. 29). The special celebrated the power and importance of civic action and urged citizens to exercise their right to vote.
“Our actions right now will shape the direction of this country for generations to come so do not sit this one out. Every vote counts,” Washington told viewers. The special included a variety of speakers describing why voting is important to them, their personal stories in previous elections and highlighted the voices of first-time voters. Washington held a virtual discussion with first-time voters and 102-year-old voter Beatrice Lumpkin (a photo of her mailing in her ballot while wearing a hazmat-style hood recently went viral).
“We can change things that are wrong if we stay involved, stay in the process after the vote,” Lumpkin said. “I’m voting for me and I’m voting for my children but I’m also voting for each of you,” Washington told them. Meanwhile, former senators Bill Frist and Tom Daschle joined Ferrera for a virtual conversation and expressed that it’s important for media to avoid competing to be “the first to declare a winner.” They also emphasized that the arguments being made that “our election process is flawed that it’s full of mistakes to be made” is “just absolutely wrong.”
Stars such as Amy Schumer and Chris Rock joined the show to provide information on how viewers can safely cast a ballot during the pandemic. In a mock Zoom call with each other, the comedians discussed which items to bring with them, with Schumer suggesting a loaded baked potato could be a snack to have handy and quipped that a photo of herself lounging by her pool would be proof of her home address. Leonardo DiCaprio also joined the special and urged voters to “be active” in this election. “Your vote matters. Please go out and vote. Make sure your voice is heard,” he said.
Lin-Manuel Miranda later spoke about how he would always vote with his mother at the local library. “Voting is the most powerful way to express who you are and what you care about so this election season shouted sing it but the drum beats for America’s future was louder and louder,” he said, before introducing young poets reciting spoken word. During the special, Jennifer Lopez, Eva Longoria, Wilmer Valderrama were among the stars discussing the importance and power of the Latinx vote.
“The minute I could vote, I was going to do it to make sure that I voted for things that affect my family,” said Longoria. Meanwhile, Valderamma reiterated that “immigrants from around the world came to this land and brick by brick made it a country.” “It is very exciting we are expected to vote in record numbers this year. I voted because I believe in democracy. I voted because I care for the future of our children. I voted because I am proud and I support my community,” said Salma Hayek.
The special also emphasized the importance of having patience on Election Day. “People are voting in historic numbers and for many reasons, including COVID-19, close to half the votes are projected to be mail-in ballots. .. it’s going to take some time,” Washington said. “If we don’t have a result on election night that’s okay. Taking the time to ensure that votes are counted that is what democracy looks like. That is a government by the people for the people.”
Performers throughout the event included Maluma with the Black Eyed Peas, Shawn Mendes, Dan + Shay, Keys with Brandi Carlile and Offset. During Offset’s performance, men stood behind him onstage wearing t-shirts with messages such as “I Am a Man” “My Vote Matters” and “Black Men Vote.” Cobie Smulders, Coldplay, Condoleezza Rice, Kelly Clarkson, John Kasich, Natalie Portman and Shaquille O’Neal also made appearances.
Every Vote Counts was produced by Live Nation, Global Citizen, Chad Hines and Ivan Dudynsky for Live Animals, and co-produced by Keys, Ferrera, Washington, Longoria, DiCaprio, Ryan Piers Williams, Chris Stadler, Rick Yorn, AK Worldwide Harness, Simpson Street and Sunshine Sachs.
Check out some tweets about the special below.
— CBS (@CBS) October 30, 2020
— Shawn Mendes (@ShawnMendes) October 30, 2020
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) October 30, 2020
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.