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Are Northwoods students influenced to vote by celebrity political opinions? Submitted: 10/10/2018
Adriana Michelle
Adriana Michelle
Reporter/Anchor
amichelle@wjfw.com

Are Northwoods students influenced to vote by celebrity political opinions?
RHINELANDER - Pop music artist Taylor Swift shocked the country this week with a public and political plea to her fans.

She asked them via social media to educate themselves on their state candidates and to register to vote.

A surge of 65,000 people registered online within 24 hours following Swift's post, according to Vote.org.

Since she is one the biggest stars in the world, Newswatch 12 spoke to a few students and school representatives to see if she had any effect on local youth getting politically involved.

Trevor Clure was one of the students that spoke up. He is a 20 year-old student at Nicolet College who is registered to vote. But he's only interesting in voting in one area.

"Marijuana in the state of Wisconsin or more specifically in the area of Milwaukee," said Clure.

He thinks social media is a good way to push voter registration. But not sure celebrity opinion like Taylor Swift's is the best route.

"I think the drive for to get people register to vote is good. However, I think there isn't enough self thinking going on for her to disclose specifically who she is voting for," said Clure. 

Megan Haler is another student at Nicolet College who had a say on Swift's stance.

"She will lead her people and followers to who she believes to vote for," said Haler.

Haler also said that her influence to become a registered voter came from outside of a celebrity influence. 

"My step dad...made us all register," said Haler. "He kind of gave us the inspiration to make our own decision."

Schools in the area work with the League of Women Voters of the Northwoods to help students understand the voting process.

"We bring them together with the league of women voters, and make them see that they can register to vote," said Rhinelander High School Teaching Assistant Denise Zalewski. "And that it's an easy process."

Nicolet College Student Engagement and Career Development Coach Sara Tienhaara said the college does not push students to register, but it does want to provide opportunities for them to have the option to. 

"We want to give students options in everything," said Tienharra. "We don't tell them they have to take advantage of our opportunities, we just want to make it available to them."

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