Celebrity Judge Greg Mathis makes a strong case about the power of voting in a new Public Service Announcement designed to motivate young people. After stating that turnout for the 2016 Presidential election was “much lower than the one before, especially among minorities,” he declares, “those votes could have made a difference … make your voice heard.”
Filmed in Chicago’s NBC Tower, the commercial features the same down-to-earth charisma that has helped Judge Mathis and his show become trusted American institutions since debuting in 1999.
Fans have responded by watching it more than 40,000 times on Facebook. Along the way, they've made 300 comments, including one that urges the honorable spokesman to “please run for president and set this country straight.”
Making a difference at the ballot box
“To get young people to vote, you must show them their self-interest,” he told Chicago Star Media. “They must believe it makes a difference for them personally.”
According to Judge Mathis, educational funding is one of the key ballot box issues that can make such a difference.
“Community college, trades, mainstream universities … you have to prepare yourself,” he explained. “And once you prepare yourself, you’re going to have to pay those student loans back.”
Judge Mathis is living proof that the advice can lead to success. After serving 11 months for a weapons conviction as a teenager in 1977, he put himself through law school while working nights at McDonald’s. In 1995, he was elected judge for Michigan’s 36th District and eventually earned a top-five rank for his time on the bench.
“Most of my success in life I’ve attributed to my mother, who died when I was a teenager,” said Mathis. “It was the priority she placed on education — as you hear I put such importance on — and spirituality and hard work.”
Besides education, Mathis said that issues of social justice are often decided at the ballot box as well.
“The Black Lives Matter movement is challenging society to address the unlawful killing of Black men by police officers, in my opinion,” he said. “And I think my opinion might count.”
Illinois online voter registration is open until October 18. To review and complete an application, click here.