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CAUSE CELEBRE

Working to ensure a fair vote

October 29, 2008|TINA DAUNT

It seems Hollywood never quite recovered from the Florida recount in 2000. So with the presidential election less than a week away, about a dozen Hollywood celebs -- including Samuel L. Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg and Blair Underwood -- have banded together to encourage voting, particularly among young people, and to ensure fair voting procedures.

The stars joined up with the nonpartisan group Election Protection to make public service announcements reminding voters this week of their rights as citizens and directing them to the group's hotline, (866) OUR-VOTE, where they can report problems at polling sites. The PSAs, which can be seen at Election Protection's website, have begun airing on radio and TV.

Election Protection started its effort this year with funding from a number of Hollywood-based organizations. They include Participant Media, Artists for a New South Africa, Rock the Vote, People for the American Way and E! Entertainment Television.

"Voting problems are more widespread than most people think," said Jonah Goldman, director of the National Campaign for Fair Elections. "Millions of people will be denied the right to register or vote this year, so it is critically important that everyone is educated and prepared to cast a ballot."

Grammy Award-winning pop artist Ashanti, who is one of the stars participating in the effort, said in a statement: "My family's deep roots in the civil rights movement have taught me that voting is one of our precious privileges, and we definitely need to take advantage of this opportunity."

Others involved in the Election Protection campaign are Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Williams, Tyler Perry, Tichina Arnold, Ana Ortiz, Vanessa L. Williams and Rex Lee.

Paris Hilton gets out the vote

Just when you thought the presidential campaign couldn't get more surreal comes news that Paris Hilton has stepped back into the political fray.

This week she released a music video on YouTube for her mock presidential campaign.

During the song "Paris for President," the blond socialite dances around in a bikini and struts about in a suit. While several muscle-bound men sing "Paris for president," she coos: "Get your cute little butt out there and vote."

If that doesn't inspire Internet couch potatoes to get out of the house and vote next Tuesday, what will?

Sarah Palin jokes are in fashion

Gov. Sarah Palin (and her pricey wardrobe) continues to provide lots of fodder for talk show hosts.

A sampling:

Jimmy Kimmel: "Sarah Palin is taking heat because the Republican National Committee has so far spent $150,000 on wardrobe for her and her family. She spent $50,000 at Saks Fifth Avenue, $75,000 at Neiman Marcus and about $5,000 on hair and makeup. Hey, representing small town, common-folk hockey moms isn't cheap, folks."

Bill Maher: "It turns out the highest-paid person in the McCain campaign -- not the campaign manager, not the pollsters -- Palin's makeup artist. I'm not kidding. She flies to every city where Palin appears. And McCain, he just gets the local gal who does the funeral home. It's not as bad as it sounds. The makeup girl is also Palin's top foreign policy advisor."

Meanwhile, at a rally for Palin in Florida on Sunday, "The View" co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck defended the GOP vice presidential nominee and scolded the critics, calling their comments sexist.

She failed to mention that $150,000 for clothes in Hollywood is chump change. And every entourage must include a good makeup artist.

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tina.daunt@latimes.com

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