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`Go vote,' by the power of suggestion

November 03, 2006|From the Washington Post

The following is a public service announcement.

"I did a lot of research on positions that I liked," says "Law & Order" alumna Angie Harmon in her close-up.

"I like to do it in the morning, when my synapses are clicking," says Felicity Huffman of "Desperate Housewives."

Regina King, lover to Ray Charles in the movie "Ray," can't shut up about it. "I was the last one of all my friends to do it," she confesses in a voice so deep and silky that you just want to hear every little detail. "After I did it, I told everybody."

Their first time ... voting. That's what the public-service announcement, a double-entendred riff by well-known Hollywood actresses, is about. And it's what 20 million unmarried women didn't do in 2004, according to Page Gardner, president of the group that produced the ad, Women's Voices. Women Vote.

Maybe sex will do what a million other announcements, ads and speeches have failed to do: lure them to the polls.

Gardner says her organization is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates. But given that several members of the staff and board have worked for Democrats, it's not surprising the group has homed in on single, divorced and widowed women, because when these women do vote, they tend to vote Democratic. Two years ago, Gardner's organization made a get-out-the-vote ad with Jennifer Aniston and Helen Hunt. This time, Gardner included at least one that wouldn't be what she called "Eat your peas and go vote" dutiful.

The spots, currently displayed at www.wvwv.org, appeared on YouTube, the popular video-sharing website. The Huffington Post and other blogs were next, followed by TV and radio stations. "That's the beauty of the Internet. It shifts the power of control," Gardner says.

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