A woman with two children at an electronic voting machine.

Was a North Carolina Teenager Registering People to Vote at a Popeye’s Chicken?

A teenager in Charlotte, North Carolina has received online interest and attention for showing ingenuity in the midst of a separate social media-driven trend by using it to register people to vote.

David Ledbetter, a 17-year-old high school senior, became a story on his own in August 2019 after he registered 16 people waiting in line at a local Popeye’s Chicken Sandwiches restaurant to vote. The restaurant chain had already been trending on social media as part of an online marketing mock feud against fans of the Chick-Fil-A chain.

“All week I’ve been seeing people waiting in line for the Popeyes chicken sandwich,” Ledbetter told the site BecauseOfThemWeCan.com. “So we thought that we should register people to vote while they waited.”

Ledbetter’s own Instagram post mentioning his voter drive received viral attention, and he also highlighted it on the account belonging to an advocacy group he co-founded, Imagine2018.

“I once attended a caucus meeting in Charlotte and I noticed the lack of young people present,” he said:

I wanted to start an initiative to allow more youth to become politically involved so I thought registering people to vote and handing out information on voting would be the best way to engage.

His story gained even more traction when local news station WCNC-TV ran a report about his efforts. That story was subsequently picked up by several other stations around the country, as well as other news sites and the Associated Press.

As Ledbetter mentioned, the long line outside the restaurant was related to Popeye’s promotion of a new chicken sandwich, which in turn fueled an online debate between fans of that chain and Chick-Fil-A.

We have contacted Ledbetter for comment and will update this article if we receive a response.