Do you imagine getting a cold call from Oprah Winfrey to motivate you to vote? That’s exactly what recently happened to a few Texas residents. Winfrey partnered with Beto O’Rourke’s Powered By People organization to surprise United States citizens and urge them to vote during the upcoming presidential election on November 3rd or drop off their absentee ballots.
“Since I can’t go knocking on people’s doors this election, I spent today talking with @betoorourke and calling Texas voters to make sure they have a voting plan,” the talk show host, television producer, actress, author, and philanthropist wrote. “So get ready like Christian because early voting starts TOMORROW 10/13 for the Lone Star State! Visit poweredxpeople.org to find your nearest polling place,” she added, referring to her first caller.
“Hi, Christian, this is Oprah Winfrey. It really is Oprah Winfrey,” she said before launching into her script. “On a scale from 0 to 10, 0 beings ‘I’m never going to vote’ and ten beings ‘I’m definitely voting,’ what number describes you Christian?” she asked.
“I’m an 11, I’m already there tomorrow at 8 a.m. actually,” said Christian very enthusiastically and leaving Winfrey in awe. “This one (election) is just an absolute must,” he continued. “If we can give someone a ride or just ensure that my dear friends are voting themselves, yeah, this is the time to do it.”
“Well, hey, you’re my first call, and you’re already at an 11. I don’t know what to say about that, that’s fantastic!” Winfrey said.
The lucky caller described his conversation with the 66-year-old entertainer as “awesome” while Winfrey called Christian a “model citizen.”
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Since I can’t go knocking on people’s doors this election, I spent today talking with @betoorourke and calling Texas voters to make sure they have a voting plan. So get ready like Christian because early voting starts TOMORROW 10/13 for the Lone Star State! Visit poweredxpeople.org to find your nearest polling place 🤠🇺🇸🗳
“Over the years, I’ve said it in as many ways as I know how. But this year, if we want to save everything we hold dear, the message is more urgent than it’s ever been before. Beyond all the policy issues that will matter most in the future—the economy, climate change, healthcare, Social Security, education—what’s really at stake are civility, decency, humanity,” Winfrey wrote at Oprah Mag. “The hatred that’s been unleashed will take some reckoning to overcome. The first step is using what Rep. John Lewis called ‘the most powerful nonviolent tool’ we have in a democracy.”
“Vote!” she urged. “What I know for sure? It’s the only way you’ll have a voice in what happens next,” she concluded.
Beto O’Rourke’s Powered by People voter mobilization effort also includes other notable names like former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, former presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and country music legend Willie Nelson. The powerhouse organization was launched in December 2019; it has mobilized 1,100 volunteers to knock on 41,000 doors, fill over 14,000 volunteer shift hours, raise more than $200,000 for Texas food banks, and organize over 800 volunteers to ask Texans Democrats to vote.
“The real power of this organization is not any one person, but the people who comprise it,” O’Rourke said of Powered by People, according to Texas Signal. “Can I be helpful to some of these statehouse races personally? Yeah, I can raise them some money; I can maybe bring them some attention. But, what is far more powerful, far more effective, and far more valuable is helping to bring thousands of volunteers into these races.”
O’Rourke emphasized that his organization offers a lot of help to candidates. “Only the candidate and their campaign can win [their] election, but we can provide a lot of help,” he noted. “We knew that’s where the power was. It’s not the money; it’s not any single person or any single campaign. It’s the people who are the real power in Texas.”
After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Texans started volunteering to provide help to those in need. “People just put on their mask, when it was the most uncertain of times, and they just went [to volunteer],” said Brenda Jurgens, Powered by People food bank captain in the Dallas-Fort Worth.
If you want to know how to vote in Texas, you can visit the Texa’s site. You will also learn how you can request an absentee ballot by mail or how to vote early. The early voting period runs from Tuesday, October 13, 2020, to Friday, October 30, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.