Music

Willie Nelson Performs 'Vote 'Em Out' at Texas Rally for Voting Rights

Country legend Willie Nelson performed his anthemic "Vote 'Em Out" on the steps of the Texas Capitol during a rally which concluded a four-day march for voting rights led by the Poor People's Campaign. The march was in protest of Texas' election reform bill.

"It is important that we ensure the right for EVERY American to vote and vote safely," Nelson said in a statement. "Laws making it more difficult for people to vote are Un-American & are intended to punish poor people, people of color, the elderly & disabled...why? If you can't win by playing the rules, then it's you & your platform - not everyone else's ability to vote."

Beto O'Rourke shared a video of Nelson's performance.

Last year, the song was back in the spotlight for yet another contentious election cycle. That time around, it was accompanied by an animated video.

 

Nelson debuted the song in 2018 during a midterm election rally in Austin for Texas Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke's race against Ted Cruz.

"Here's a new song we're gonna spring on y'all tonight," Nelson said while introducing the song. "Take it home with you, spread it around."

"Vote 'Em Out" encourages anyone discouraged with the state of the government to vote their conscious.

"If you don't like who's in there vote 'em out, that's what Election Day is all about," Nelson sings. "And the biggest gun we got is called the ballot box. If you don't like who's in there vote 'em out."

The studio version, written with and produced by Buddy Cannon, teams Nelson with sons Lukas and Micah.

Read More: 'Willie Nelson & Family': A Willie Nelson Documentary Series is in the Works

Nelson has drawn criticism from some fans for his support of O'Rourke, though the country legend has never been shy about speaking his mind.

During a recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the talk show host asked Nelson if he was bothered by people boycotting his music in response to his support of O'Rourke. Nelson responded: "No not really. It's their prerogative. I might not like their music either, you know, so I don't hold any grudges against people."

The country music singer also noted that this wasn't the first time he's backed a political candidate. In the past, Nelson has thrown his support behind Ross Perot and Dennis Kucinich.

This story originally ran on Oct. 1, 2018. It was updated on Aug. 2, 2021. 

"Vote 'Em Out" Lyrics:

If you don't like who's in there, vote 'em out
That's what Election Day is all about
The biggest gun we've got
Is called "the ballot box"
So if you don't like who's in there, vote 'em out

Vote 'em out (vote 'em out)
Vote 'em out (vote 'em out)
And when they're gone we'll sing and dance and shout
Bring some new ones in
And we'll start that show again
And if you don't like who's in there, vote 'em out

If it's a bunch of clowns you voted in
Election Day is comin' 'round again
If you don't like it now
If it's more than you'll allow
If you don't like who's in there, vote 'em out

Vote 'em out (vote 'em out)
Vote 'em out (vote 'em out)
And when they're gone we'll sing and dance and shout
Bring some new ones in
And we'll start the show again
And if you don't like who's in there, vote 'em out

Vote 'em out (vote 'em out)
Vote 'em out (vote 'em out)
That's what Election Day is all about
The biggest gun we've got
Is called "the ballot box"
So if you don't like who's in there, vote 'em out
If you don't like who's in there, well vote 'em out

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Willie Nelson Performs 'Vote 'Em Out' at Texas Rally for Voting Rights