Singer Katy Perry and actor husband Orlando Bloom waded into the voting rights debate on Thursday by appearing in a dramatized PSA that appealed to voters to pressure their senators into backing sweeping voting and election reform.
The Hollywood power couple’s minute-long video aimed to educate viewers about the For The People Act — a largely Democrat-backed bill that aims to bolster voting rights and end gerrymandering in future elections.
The bill, also known as HR-1 and S-1, has been touted as Democrats’ answer to a state level-GOP push to enact voting restrictions following the 2020 election.
The initial proposal includes automatic voter registration, making Election Day a holiday in the US, mandating at least 15 days of early voting for federal elections and banning partisan gerrymandering.
It passed the House in March, but has been bogged down in the Senate as Democrats have debated among themselves, with a key vote in the Senate set for Tuesday which Perry and Bloom’s video appears to be targeting.
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, the lone Democratic holdout on the bill, ultimately declared he couldn’t vote for it because it lacked bipartisan support, while Senate Republicans have criticized the bill for overreach and have refused to support it.
In the video shared to Perry’s Instagram, the 36-year-old pop star and her British husband, 44, appeared as a freedom fighting couple from a dystopian 2055, warning people from 2021 that democracy was ‘under attack’.
Singer Katy Perry and actor husband Orlando Bloom waded into the voting rights debate on Thursday by appearing in a dramatized PSA video (pictured) that appealed to voters to pressure their senators into backing sweeping voting and election reform
Transformation: Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom transform into a freedom fighting couple in new dystopian PSA about the perils of voter suppression in America
Perry wrote to her 123 million followers: ‘Urgent message from 2055. Voting is a right and currently the freedom to vote is under attack. The For the People Act believes in hearing from ALL voices.
‘If you believe that voting should be easy, accessible and convenient to all, please act now to pass the #ForThePeopleAct.’
Bloom also shared the video to his own social media account, which is followed by five million fans, with the video being ‘liked’ across the two accounts well over 120,000 times. The ‘viewed’ figure on Bloom’s account alone was also over 120,000.
Perry’s multi-slide post included one about what was ‘at stake,’ and said that nearly 400 bills that restrict voting have already been introduced in 48 of the 50 states in the United States. HR-1 aims to counter these.
The PSA was made in partnership with the grassroots anti-corruption organization RepresentUs, who have been backed by a number of other Hollywood figures such as Jennifer Lawrence, Ed Helms, Adam McKay and Erik Feig.
The ominous video begins with the couple desperately cuing up a PSA system to reach the nation in present day, and hair and makeup has transformed the couple into more haggard versions of themselves as both sport stringy grey hair and prosthetics, with tattered clothing.
Desperate plea: ‘This future doesn’t have to be. You have the power to change it. Save democracy while you can,’ Bloom pleads in the dystopian PSA
Save democracy: The couple exist in the year 2055 and in their PSA they tell present day America that the future looks bleak as ‘democracy is dead’ in their current society
Getting the word out: The freedom fighting pair urged in the video the need for pushing the bill through the senate
‘We’ve got to tell them,’ Perry begins, as the video system successfully transmits across screens in America.
‘You are are only hope. The America you know doesn’t exist in our future. Democracy is dead. We have no voice. The Regime watches our every move,’ Bloom warns.
And the singer again takes over: ‘It started when voter suppression ran wild all over America. The voting rights bills died in the Senate, polling places closed. We lost our right to vote,’ she pleads.
‘This future doesn’t have to be. You have the power to change it. Save democracy while you can,’ Bloom adds, as Katy says ‘call your senator now.’
The pair then makes a nod to their nine-month old daughter as they sign off ‘Tell Daisy we love her.’
Time is ticking: The video showed homes across the nation watching the PSA after they hijacked the TV broadcast system
Speaking out: Punished by the ‘regime’ Bloom speaks of in the video, a ‘wanted’ alert of the pair pops up
High stakes: A slide about what was ‘at stake,’ shared that nearly 400 bills that restrict the freedom to vote have already been introduced in 48 of the 50 states in the United States
Passing the bill: The For The People Act is a bipartisan bill to protect voting rights and though it passed in the House of Representatives it is stalled in the Senate
On Thursday, Democrats appeared to be coalescing around changes to the bill that could win the support of Manchin.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Manchin’s proposal ‘equally unacceptable.’
‘Republicans are digging in their heels,’ said Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut. ‘They’ve made it pretty clear this week that there’s nothing they’re willing to support.’
Manchin’s position has evolved and compromise appeared to be nearing after he proposed a series of changes this week to narrow its scope.
His proposal received a boost Thursday when Stacey Abrams, a former Georgia gubernatorial candidate who is a leading Democratic voice on voting rights, said she ‘absolutely’ supported it.
‘What Sen. Manchin is putting forward are some basic building blocks that we need to ensure that democracy is accessible,’ Abrams told CNN.
Democrats appeared to be coalescing Thursday around changes to the bill that could win the support of moderate West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, the lone Democratic holdout on the legislation
Still, in a narrowly divided Senate where Democrats must count on Vice President Kamala Harris to cast tie-breaking votes, any compromise will likely be for naught unless changes are made to Senate filibuster rules, which Manchin and others oppose. For now, it takes 60 votes to overcome a filibuster and advance legislation.
Over a dozen Senate Republicans took turns at the microphone during a Thursday news conference to denounce the bill, which they view as a federal overreach into state and local elections.
McConnell predicted all Republicans would remain in lockstep opposition regardless of what changes are made. Sen. Roy Blunt, the No. 4 ranking Senate Republican, noted the endorsement by Abrams, who is a lighting rod for GOP criticism.
‘I actually think when Stacey Abrams immediately endorsed Sen. Machin’s proposal it became the Stacey Abrams (bill), not the Joe Manchin (bill),’ he told reporters Thursday.
As written, the Democrats’ bill would bring about the largest overhaul of U.S. voting in a generation, touching nearly every aspect of the electoral process. It would blunt laws erected in the name of election security, like voter ID requirements, while curtailing the influence of big money in politics.
It would create a nonpartisan process for redrawing congressional districts, expand mail voting and early voting, restore the rights of felons to cast a ballot, and scores of other provisions.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Manchin’s proposal ‘equally unacceptable’
Manchin’s counter-offer, which is intended to entice GOP support, would leave significant portions of the sprawling bill intact, while curtailing, rewriting or eliminating other key parts.
‘Color me a little a little skeptical,’ Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, of Virginia, said of the possibility of bipartisanship.
What will ultimately come to the floor for a vote Tuesday remains unclear. Also not certain: whether Manchin will vote for it.
‘We’ll see what bill we have,’ he told reporters Thursday. ‘We don’t know what bill we’re going to have.’
A national voter ID requirement favored by Manchin has emerged as one sticking point with some Democrats.
Manchin’s proposal is far softer than the strict photo ID requirements adopted by some states. It would require all states to check ID, but various documents including a utility bill could be used instead of a photo ID, a requirement already adopted by 15 states including Manchin’s West Virginia.
Yet Manchin’s position has evolved and compromise appeared to be nearing after he proposed a series of changes this week to narrow its scope. His proposal received a boost Thursday when Stacey Abrams, a former Georgia gubernatorial candidate who is a leading Democratic voice on voting rights, said she ‘absolutely’ supported it
‘That is what we’re negotiating,’ said Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who is playing a lead role in guiding the legislation.
Polls have shown notable bipartisan support for voter ID requirements, and Democrats in their elections overhaul focused on the strictest ID laws.
In the current Senate bill, Democrats would require states with an ID law to allow voters who show up without identification to cast a regular ballot as long as they sign an affidavit under penalty of perjury.
‘We might squabble about one or two things,’ said Sen. Raphael Warnock, of Georgia. ‘But I am not about to sacrifice the good in the pursuit of the perfect.’
Klobuchar said she would continue to work on the bill over the weekend and was optimistic all 50 Senate Democrats would support it.
‘If we reach unity on a voting bill in the Democratic Party, with all of the debates we’ve been having over the last few months, I don’t think anything’s over yet,’ she said.
Fighting for a cause: The pair are just a few of Hollywood elites who have been getting the message out to help pass ‘HR-1 and S-1’ which faces a crucial vote on Tuesday