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Your favorite TV lawyers are urging real ones to ‘take action’ in the election

Viola Davis in "How to Get Away With Murder."
Viola Davis as attorney Annalise Keating in “How to Get Away With Murder.”
(Jessica Brooks / ABC)

TV lawyers are objecting to voter suppression and making a case to their real-life counterparts ahead of the upcoming presidential election.

On Thursday, Viola Davis (“How to Get Away With Murder”), Christine Baranski (“The Good Fight”), Dulé Hill (“Suits”), Gina Torres (“Suits”), Sam Waterston (“Law and Order”), Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife”) and other actors who play attorneys on TV appeared in a PSA urging actual lawyers to protect Americans’ voting rights come November.

The YouTube video is presented by We the Action, which connects legal professionals with human-rights organizations such as VotoLatino, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union and former First Lady Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote.

“Are you a lawyer?” begins the PSA, which sees its celebrity advocates deliver their call to action, relay-style. “I’m not, but I played one on TV ... We perform what’s written in the script. ... But that’s not real life. Which is why we’re looking to you, calling all lawyers — not fake, make believe, phony lawyers like me. Real, actual lawyers — help to volunteer.”

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Other onscreen litigators featured in the three-minute clip include Josh Charles (“The Good Wife”), Harry Hamlin (“L.A. Law”), Raúl Esparza (“Law & Order: SVU”), Carrie Preston (“The Good Wife,” “The Good Fight”), Paul Giamatti (“Billions”), J. Smith-Cameron (“Succession”), Quincy Tyler Bernstine (“Power”), Stephanie March (“Law & Order: SVU”), Carey Lowell (“Law & Order”) and Alan Rachins (“L.A. Law”).

“This election’s coming up real fast,” they say in the promo. “It’s right around the corner. And it is essential that we do everything we can to make sure everyone who is eligible can cast their vote. Make their vote count. So we need lawyers — not people who play lawyers. We need real lawyers to join We the Action’s election 2020 task force to help safeguard the election on Nov. 3.

“To work with organizations that protect the right to vote by ensuring the election is safe, secure and accessible to communities around the country. ... With the most important election of our lifetime coming up — one we know may not be decided on election night — we need to do everything we can to make sure that every single vote is counted fairly and accurately.”

Michelle Obama is uniting with “West Wing” alumni Rob Lowe, Dulé Hill, Allison Janney, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford and Martin Sheen for HBO.

In recent months, several celebrities have been using their platforms to encourage people to exercise their right to vote. And many have already participated in efforts led by some of We the Action’s partner orgs, including When We All Vote, a nonprofit launched by Obama, Shonda Rhimes, Tom Hanks, Kerry Washington, Selena Gomez, Janelle Monáe, Tracee Ellis Ross, Lin-Manuel Miranda and more to boost civic engagement.

“We need you on election day, and we need you after Nov. 3 if the election has not been called yet,” the We the Action PSA continues. “This is your chance to support a fair election, and the stakes have never been higher. Challenges facing voters mount every day. ...

“Now, time is of the essence, but we can’t do it on our own. Actually, we can’t do it at all because we’re not real lawyers. We just play lawyers on TV. The director says, ‘Action!’ and we do our parts. Now, you can do your part. Take action.”


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