Georgia Votes: John Legend

Georgia Votes: John Legend

Georgia Votes: John Legend

The singer-songwriter stresses why we need all hands on deck for the Georgia Senate Runoff Elections

The singer-songwriter stresses why we need all hands on deck for the Georgia Senate Runoff Elections

Photography: Inez & Vinoodh

Text: Dania Curvy

"It was rewarding to see all the hard work that so many people put in across the country to see payoff with a really sizable win for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. We want them to be progressive and take action to really improve people's lives. But it's not possible if [Democrats] don't control the legislature; we have to be able to get laws passed. And the only way you can do that is if you make Mitch McConnell the minority leader, instead of the majority leader by winning these two seats in Georgia. So we need everyone to be all hands on deck.

"We have to think about how power is wielded in this country on multiple levels. Even though the president and the vice president get a lot of press and they're kind of the symbols of our U.S. government, there are so many other players that have a lot of power in our legislative branch that have a lot of control over laws on budgeting, taxes, and any kinds of major programs that get initiated. That usually can't happen unless our house and our Senate approve of it. And so there is no way that Biden can have a productive presidency to the extent that we need him to if we don't have control over the legislative branch. But I also try to stress to people how important the power of local government officials are as well. 

"I speak a lot about district attorneys, city councils, and other people who have a lot of control over the criminal justice system and other local issues. These kinds of things are an important part of how people's lives are impacted by politics. And a lot of times they're not even aware of who those local leaders are and either they vote a straight party-line without really knowing that much about them, or they don't even vote in those down-ballot elections at all. I think it's important that we stay engaged and informed about what our leaders are doing and that we make sure we elect leaders up and down the ballot who can be representative of what the people want. 

"[People] need to figure out what they're passionate about and then get engaged. That doesn't just mean following people on Twitter or listening to a podcast. Getting engaged means getting active. Some will choose to get active by writing letters or signing petitions, making sure their representatives know what they want. Others will join with organizers to make some noise–go to the city council meetings and find other ways to make their voices heard on issues that they care about. But we need people to do these things for any real change to happen. It can't just be every four years during an election people are being engaged and responding to organizers by getting involved. 

"I think the most important things to me are that our federal government needs to implement an immediate response to COVID. That means we need to mobilize to get the funding out there to make sure we can manufacture the vaccine as quickly as possible and get it out to the people. We also need to pass financial relief for so many people who've been struggling. And also figure out how to respond to climate change, build an economy and an infrastructure that will reduce our carbon footprint, and create jobs for people all across the country through innovation and moving our economy off of fossil fuels.

"[The general] election should show black people that we have power. We have the power that when we turn up and when we turn out, we can swing elections. We made Georgia a blue state. It wasn't just black people, but, it wouldn't have happened without us. We have the power to pick our leaders.

"Stacey Abrams, Ralph Warnock, and Jon Ossoff have been working hard to educate the people of Georgia, but there's a little bit more work to do. You can vote by mail, or you can vote early. You can do so however you need to stay safe, but we need you one more time. "

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Election Day

If you’d like to vote in-person for this election, just make sure you’re registered and plan out your Election Day plan so you have the time to go and vote on January 5th, 2021. Find your local polling station here, and remember how important it is to exercise your right to vote!

Need a ride to the polls? Plus1Vote is partnering with Uber to provide free rides for the current Georgia senate runoffs! You can use the voucher code “VoteGA”  for a free ride on January 5th! Available here.


Absentee Voting

You can also vote absentee for the Georgia Senate Runoff.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot was December 15th.

To do so you can complete this application online (you’ll need your county, state ID number, birth date, and legal name). You can also fill out this PDF and return it to your county board of registrars via mail or email.

Absentee ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, January 5. You can also drop off your ballot at an official county drop box up until 7 p.m. on Election Day. Check your county’s election website for details and dropbox locations.

For more information, head to Plus1Vote for all of your voter questions.

Credits: PHOTOGRAPHY: AGENT Kim Pollock (VLM Studio), PRODUCER: Tucker Burbilis (VLM Studio), PRODUCTION COORDINATOR: Eva Harte (VLM Studio), LIGHTING DIRECTOR: Jodokus Driessen (VLM Studio), STUDIO MANAGER: Marc Kroop (VLM Studio), DIGITAL TECHNICIAN: Brian Anderson (VLM Studio), ON-SITE PRODUCTION: PRODUCER: Gabe Hill (GE Projects), PRODUCTION MANAGER: Suzy Kang (GE Projects), PHOTO ASSISTANT: Chad Ofstedhal, ON-SITE STUDIO REP: Denise Solis


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