Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Hayden Panettiere, Lance Armstrong & Wyclef Jean urge Americans to vote

Larry KingA string of celebrities have appeared on a US talk show to urge Americans to vote in the presidential election.

Heroes star Hayden Panettiere, cyclist Lance Armstrong and singer Wyclef Jean took time out to promote the importance of voting on Larry King Live.

Actress Rosario Dawson and singer Josh Groban also spoke about the election on the talk show.

Panettiere, who is the official spokeswoman for voting campaign Declare Yourself, told King that she had voted for the first time this year.

"I'm a newbie voter," the 18-year-old said. "It felt very empowering very empowering to have a voice and declare yourself."

The actress spoke about her involvement with the Declare Yourself campaign and said she was urging youngsters to quiz presidential candidates about issues that affect them.

"Declare Yourself speaks to young people," she explains. "I've said to them, ask your candidates about problems, whether it be environmental or Lance with cancer or war. Ask them what their views are on it.

"Then let that weigh in on their decision."

Groban, who works with Rock the Vote - urging youngsters to register to vote - revealed he first voted when Al Gore was running for president.

"I had just been signed," he told King. "I remember doing some campaigning for him and singing at some events for him in Nashville.

"It's empowering. It was really -- as soon as I could vote, I started voting."

He continued: "Every election you find that youth voters are getting more and more to the table. The myth that youth voting is dropping is just that. It's a myth.

"Every time they feel like the issues get stronger and stronger and are talked about more and more.

"You know, the potential -- we have the potential to have 45 million youth vote. That would be a quarter of the voting population."

Jean, who is also involved with Rock the Vote, added: "I was born in Haiti. I came to America.

"The important thing is that voting is very important. And the idea of coming from Haiti, sometimes kids don't get chances to vote.

"So it's important that living in America you don't take nothing for granted. It's important to go out and cast your vote."

Armstrong, a cancer survivor and Tour de France winner, is trying to make the fight against cancer a national political priority.

He told King he was keen to get the disease discussed in this year's election campaigns.

"I think if you want to be the commander in chief, you have to discuss something that kills one American every minute," he said. "We'll give them the opportunity in Ohio, in a critically important swing state, to come speak to the voters of Ohio and lay out an agenda, lay out a plan, and refocus the war on cancer."

Dawson, the co-founder of Voto Latino, told the talk show host about the importance of encouraging Latinos to vote.

"Latinos are the largest minority as of March of 2003 in the entire country," she explained. "So the numbers will only continue to grow.

"When you saw the numbers coming in from California in the primaries, I mean people who voted, 38 percent of the vote was actually Latino in California alone."

She added: "The Latino vote is specifically something that's going to be special with that, because you have 50,000 Latinos turning 18 every month."

By Owen Williams, Mar 04 2008 © Copyright 2008 - Showbiz Spy

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