Chance the Rapper led massive crowds to a free concert and then to an early voting location leading up to Election Day, according to reports. The Chicago-based rapper held a concert called “Parade to the Polls” as an effort to get his fans to vote — and to vote early. The concert and parade were then captured and shared on social media.
Chance, a longtime supporter of presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, held a free concert that he headlined, according to CNN. Then, he lead a massive crowd to an early voting site nearby. Participants and fans took photos and videos of the massive scene on social media. Most of the content was shared to Twitter.
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The concert was targeted toward millennial voters, whose votes are crucial in this year’s election, according to CNN affiliate ABC 7 Chicago.
“I think everyone felt really empowered. We’re sure of ourselves, and we know that we can go out and make a difference,” said attendee Ariel Pritchard.
“It’s good to see people get together and come together for a cause, and actually do something with their date and vote,” said Carlton Ponds.
Several hundred people gathered together to watch Chance the Rapper perform in Grant Pak’s Petrillo Music Shell on Monday night (November 7). After the concert ended, the rapper and concert organizers from the Black Youth Project led crowds to early voting sites in the Chicago Loop, the city’s downtown area. At Cook County’s early voting supercenter on 15 West Washington Street, the line to get into the door was two full city blocks long, according to the news outlet.
However, Chance tweeted that thousands – not hundreds – joined the parade under an online banner name that read #paradetothepolls. The demand for his free concert and early voting was so high that his concert was moved to a large venue earlier on in the day in order to accommodate the massive crowd, reports NBC News. This comes after Chance performed alongside Jay Z and Beyonce for a special political rally supporting Clinton.
According to ABC 7 Chicago, Cook County officials reported that early voting numbers have since broken 2008 records, registering a 24 percent increase from that year. Cook County Clerk David Orr said that early voting, grace period voting, and mail-in voting reached over 438,212 ballots as of 8 p.m. on Monday night. The previous record held was 273,661 ballots back in 2012 – when President Barack Obama was elected for his second term.
“I didn’t expect people to be this impassioned but I guess it makes sense,” said Peter Halliday, who was also voting in Cook County on Monday night.
Officials have stated that the large numbers are due to the motivation to vote and some are due to the reported extended voting period and longer polling hours. The Chicago Election Board and Cook County Clerk David Orr held a press conference on Monday and said that this year’s election will be the first where voters are able to register to vote on Election Day.
Earlier this month, Chance held a press conference about his free concert and called attention to early voting.
“This election is very important, a chance for new leaders and new opportunities to emerge,” he said in a press release, as cited by Billboard.
He also said that he has worked with several organizations such as Boost Your voice and TurboVote in order “to give everyone a voice in the democratic process and encourage people to vote, both locally and nationally.” Chance the Rapper is hoping that the large numbers will encourage his fans to vote on Election Day across the nation.
[Featured Image by Jeff Schear/Getty Images]