Pop culture

Frank Ocean is Giving Voters Free Merch

The musician is the latest to reward those who do their civic duty
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In a country where midterm elections consistently have under 50% turnout and political divide is ever-increasing, the circumstances to get out the vote are dire. All sorts of celebrities and brands are taking to social media (and, in the case of Oprah, door-knocking) to remind Americans to let their voice be heard, and on election day, Frank Ocean is the latest to join the party. On a US midterm election special for his Blonded radio show, the musician announced that fans who vote can get free merchandise from select pop-up shops.

The shops are in four strategic locations aligning with key midterm races: Houston, Miami, Atlanta, and Dallas. Stacey Abrams in Georgia is trying to become America's first black female governor, Andrew Gillum could be the first black governor of Florida, and Beto O'Rourke is trying to ride a blue wave to become the first Democratic senator of Texas in 24 years. Ocean's hope is to increase voter turnout for these close races, but any fan who provides a photo of themselves at the ballot has an equal opportunity at free merchandise. However, all three states ban taking photos at polling places, so maybe pick up an "I Voted" sticker or take a selfie just outside instead.

It's worth noting that while brands are offering voters free items and discounts right and left, the legality of this is questionable. This is because of fears that these offers will encourage people to support specific candidates or decisions. That being said, businesses typically only ask for an "I Voted" sticker or photo proof, no matter the choice actually made, so if these promotions encourage more people to complete their civic duty, more power to them. Regardless of where Frank Ocean's fans live, however, the message is clear to Americans everywhere today. Just vote. 

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