On election day, there’s exactly zero difference between you and celebrity. All of our voices matter equally when it comes to casting our votes. There’s no VIP entrance at the polling place.
As it turns out, several celebrities are sharing stories of their first time voting (whether ever, as American citizens, or after having their rights restored) that may not differ too greatly from average Americans as well. This cross-section of celebrities is discussing publicly overcoming their past indifference, admitting their trouble navigating the sometimes confusing minefield of voting laws, or becoming citizens, and they aren’t afraid to admit that this is a milestone election for them.
Just finished filling out my ballot!
A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on
The 28-year-old singer and actress is one of the most followed American citizens on Instagram, but earlier this year, she admitted she hadn’t voted before due to both her mental health struggles and feeling like her vote didn’t really matter (this isn’t particularly rare, as people are more likely to vote as they get older). This year, however, Gomez has gone all out encouraging her followers to vote (she’s one of the co-chairs of Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote initiative) and shared her first ballot selfie on Instagram.
Just walked my #ballot into a #official polling station, and I feel like a #citizenoftheplanet🤗 make a plan! Go #VOTE
A post shared by Latrice Royale (@latriceroyale) on
Drag Race star Latrice Royale may be one of the single most beloved drag queens on the planet, but in the eyes of the state of Florida, she wasn’t eligible to vote for the past 20 years. Royale has been open about getting caught up in the criminal justice system, and has been an advocate for the rights of former felons. In 2018, the voters of Florida overwhelmingly passed an amendment restoring voting rights to former felons in the state, overturning some of the harshest laws in the country. Despite Republican politicians’ attempts to blunt its impact, Royale was able to register. It may not be her first time voting ever, but Royale is a member of a historic class of Florida voters this year.
Took my mama to vote for the first time today!!! She became an American citizen just recently # and this year she was so determined to get out and vote. I am so proud of her!!! Wearing our best Blues!!!!!💙💙💙💙💙
A post shared by Bella 🦋 (@bellahadid) on
Dutch-born Yolanda Hadid became an American citizen back in 2013, but hadn’t previously exercised her right to vote in the country. Of course, her two supermodel daughters Bella and Gigi have been outspoken about urging their followers to vote, but there’s nothing quite as effective as urging your own friends and family to vote. Bella escorted her mother to an American polling place for the first time ever.
This is my first time voting in America. I’d like to thank my wife Blake for making my first time so gentle and loving. It was super scary at first, then exciting and now I’m a little tired. But proud. #VoteEarly
A post shared by Ryan Reynolds (@vancityreynolds) on
Reynolds, too, is an immigrant. He’s a product of Canada. But now, as Mr. Blake Lively, he’s eligible to vote in America and did so for the first time this year.
A few minutes ago, I officially became an U.S citizen!! For me, this is monumental. It’s something I’ve been working towards for literally 20 years, which makes this all the more emotional. And now, I will exercise my constitutional right as an American. Today, I will register to vote, and vote for the change I wish to see in OUR nation.
A post shared by T A N . F R A N C E (@tanfrance) on
The British-born Queer Eye star officially became an American citizen just months ago and immediately exercised his right to register to vote.
Tyler, The Creator
Like Gomez, 29-year-old Tyler was a Millennial who didn’t see much point in voting, but this year finally saw the light and not only announced his intention to vote but urged his followers to vote.
i voted for the first time today and it felt really good. i’m so proud to be part of the election, because it’s become so clear how much power young people have to push this country towards progress — as long as we participate. i don’t want to grow up in a country that is going backwards. the past four years have shown us how much damage can be done when our leadership prioritizes property over people, tolerates racism, and ignores science. if you’re not sure if you want to vote, i ask you to consider who and what will be most affected if you don’t. please vote even if it sounds like a headache. do it with empathy, do it with love, and do it with reason because it matters 🇺🇸❤️
A post shared by Kaia (@kaiagerber) on
Granted, this will be the first time voting in a presidential election for just about every celebrity 21 and younger, and 19-year-old supermodel Kaia Gerber was amongst them.
First time voting as an American citizen…and what an important election to have a voice. Make yours count. Go vote 🇺🇸
A post shared by Gregg Sulkin (@greggsulkin) on
Sulkin may have played all-American teens in his Disney Chanel days, but the British-born actor only recently became a citizen. Like his former Wizards of Waverly Place co-star Gomez, this marks his first time voting.
…embarrassingly but honestly, this is my first time voting. Im not proud of it, but my naivety has kept me sheltered through a lot of my young adult life. BUT. As I’ve listened and learned, I’ve realized its our responsibility and privilege to use our voices to establish what we as human beings with beating hearts want to see in this country for not only ourselves…but our friends, neighbors, strangers, and future generations. The political climate this election is intense. It can feel really overwhelming and scary to even have an opinion, knowing if you share it you will get ruthlessly criticized regardless of your platform or perspective. There’s a lot of noise…but I’ve learned that’s when it’s most important to be anything but silent. And our vote is our voice. America stands for so many beautiful things and I hope (and vote) that it continues to evolve and grow to be a place where EVERYONE is protected, respected, and given equal rights and opportunity. Left the polls feeling really empowered by exercising my right and showing up for what I believe in and the change I want to see. I encourage everyone to do the same. 🗳
A post shared by Kelsea Ballerini (@kelseaballerini) on
The outspoken country star was a bit embarrassed about admitting the fact that she hadn’t voted before, but the 27-year-old joined the list of younger stars who realized it was about time to exercise that right.
WE GOT TO VOTE 🗳 THAT’S WHAT CHANGES THE RULES! THATS WHAT CHANGES THE LAWS! THANK YOU TO MY BROTHER @common FOR GIVING ME A PLATFORM TO TELL MY VOTER STORY! @rollingstone @wearepushblack @whenweallvote PSA Video Director: @frassysassy #whenweallvote #vote #pushblack
A post shared by OFFSET (@offsetyrn) on
Offset was told at 17 by a parole officer that his youthful legal troubles would make him ineligible to vote. Of course, when you’re married to the politically outspoken Cardi B, you have to make sure that that’s actually correct. Earlier this year the Migos rapper discovered there was, in fact, nothing stopping him from casting a ballot. Offset actually voted in Georgia’s primary, but this marks his first general election.
A post shared by snoopdogg (@snoopdogg) on
Snoop Dogg, too, assumed his past criminal record excluded him from voting, but the California icon finally realized that actually he is allowed to vote in the state.
…And Kanye West
Then there’s Kanye West…the only man in the country who announced that he’s never voted before but was going to make an erstwhile run for president anyway. “Today I am voting for the first time in my life for the President of the United States, and it’s for someone I truly trust…me,” he wrote.
In actuality, you shouldn’t be voting for just yourself (literally or figuratively), but your friends, family, community, and country, and especially for those who aren’t able to vote.
If you happen to be reading this before about 7 p.m. on election day and feel inspired, you still have time to vote if you’re registered. If you’re not? Well, 22 states, including New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Michigan Minnesota, Iowa, Nevada and California, allow same-day voter registration.
Related: How to Vote and Make Sure It Counts in 2020