This weekend, Octavia Spencer joined the Democratic National Committee and Obama for America’s "Gotta Vote" Bus Tour in North Carolina to talk about voter registration and encourage citizens to take advantage of early voting. ESSENCE.com caught up with the Oscar-winning actress on the campaign trail to discuss why she decided to get involved, the importance of early voting and how she will be casting her vote this year.
ESSENCE.com: You are currently on the road with the DNC's "Gotta Vote" bus tour. Now this isn't something that you have to do, so tell us why you decided to get involved?
OCTAVIA SPENCER: Well this election is too close for comfort and it shouldn't be. I just imagined what it was like back in the 1960s when African Americans were organizing to get that right. I think people are a little complacent and haven't really understood why it is important that they vote. I realized that I had to do more than just cast my vote. I needed to be active and proactive in helping President Obama get elected.
ESSENCE.com: Before President Obama was elected, I read that you doubted if America was ready for its first Black President. Now that he is running for his second term, what does this election and campaign season mean to you?
SPENCER: It's not that I didn't think that the President could be president, I just didn't think he would be. But, I am glad that I was proven wrong. I supported him then and I definitely support him now. But it's more than about just casting a vote at this point because the opponents basically have a lot more money and they are funded by people who have a bigger interest in keeping all of their coins. The common people have to rally behind the President. He needs all the support he can get, and for me that extends beyond just casting my vote. And it should extend beyond that for other people. I think for me if somehow being involved in this campaign as vocally as I am will ignite someone else's passion to get involved then I am thrilled that that has occurred, but that is the ultimate goal.
ESSENCE.com: What has been the most rewarding part of the bus tour? Have there been any memorable moments?
Spencer: I flew in last night to be a part of it. We are making four stops. It just reminds me of the things that I studied in history. What it was like, perhaps, to be a part of something like this. We just left Ebenezer Baptist Church and it was exciting because for me I felt like I was revisiting history. And being a part of it is making history as well. As far as memorable moments, I just think being there and being a part of it is memories in itself.
ESSENCE.com: How will you be casting your vote this year? Are you participating in early voting or going to the polls on Election Day?
Spencer: I am going to the polls in LA and then I will be going to Nevada on behalf of the campaign.
ESSENCE.com: Is there a reason in particular you decided to participate in the North Carolina state tour?
Spencer: Well you go where you are needed and I let the campaign dictate where they needed the most help and I am doing North Carolina. I came here first on 60 days out and I am back today. I will be going to Florida on the second or third and then Nevada on Election Day.
ESSENCE.com: What is the importance of early voting?
Spencer: I just want to reiterate how important this election is and North Carolina is one of the few states that offers early voting and early voting is what helps take the President over the top. I am excited that I am here and I definitely want people to take advantage of voting as early as today. If they are intending to support the President they need to vote because life happens. And come November 6, everybody wants to know that they have done their civic duty and that their voice is being heard. Because not voting for the President is a vote for Mitt Romney, make no mistake.