Oprah says if you haven't voted, Turn off your TV!

On Election Day 2008, Oprah is about to say something she's never said before during her show. "If you are watching me right now and you haven't voted yet, turn off your TV!" she says. "Turn it off and go vote, because you only have a few hours left."

Check with your local officials to find out when your polls close.

Watch an exclusive message from "the candidates." Watch

Video courtesy of Broadway Video/NBC Studios, Inc.
What are you voting for?

Today's audience members are wearing special T-shirts from Gap to declare what they're voting for. Oprah's says she's voting for "a bold new world."

Audience members share what they're voting for too:

"Lifelong learning."





"More jobs."
Steve and Lisa are hosting an election night party.

After months and months of build-up, tonight is the night! As the votes pour in and states turn red and blue, millions of Americans will be glued to their televisions awaiting the returns. "This is going to be a nerve-racking night," Oprah says. "Nobody should watch alone."

Follow the electoral map on Oprah.com.

Some people are even hosting parties for their friends. In Washington, D.C.—where national politics is always local—Steve and Lisa will host a party for around 30 of their friends with a menu that works no matter who you voted for.

"We've got food commemorating all the candidates," Lisa says via Skype™. "We'll start out with some appetizers from Chicago. We have some deep-dish pizza, some kielbasa. Then we have some great food from Alaska. We have moose meat sliders and pink salmon."

Where does one get moose meat in Washington, D.C.? "Our friend Megan, here, her husband is from Wasilla, Alaska—Sarah Palin's hometown—so we're connected with moose meat suppliers back in the great state of Alaska."
Daughtry performs Feels Like the First Time.

You know Chris Daughtry from the fifth season of American Idol . Since then, his band, Daughtry, has been nominated for four Grammys and sold more than 4 million albums. In this election year, Daughtry teamed up with the League of First Time Voters to promote voting among Americans who have never cast a ballot before.

He and his band performed at both the Democratic National Convention in Denver and the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. "It was to encourage people to, no matter who they vote for or whoever they believe in, to just go out there, and get your voice heard," he says.

Watch Daughtry perform "Feels Like the First Time" in tribute to first-time voters! Watch
Jaleesa, a first-time voter

To celebrate one of life's greatest milestones, Oprah has filled an entire section of the studio with first-time voters. Nineteen-year-old Jaleesa is one of millions of Americans who recently cast their first ballots. How did it feel?

"It felt like I made a difference," she says. "This election is going to make history, and for me to be a part of it and make a difference, it felt amazing."

Sarah, another young voter, says the experience was awesome. "I felt so empowered, like, 'I can do this,'" she says. "I voted in the primaries, and this time, I just felt like this is it."

Patricia and Trimaine, siblings from Chicago, got up extra early this morning to vote for the first time. Both say they were excited to play a part in the political process. "To be able to vote for the first time and also make history and be able to vote for the candidate that can make change or bring change that every American wants…it was exciting," Trimaine says. "I'm happy that I was able to vote."

Oprah understands the excitement. When she voted early for the presidential candidate of her choice, she says she was very emotional. "I didn't want to cause a scene, because I didn't want to read about myself in the paper. It was going to be, 'Oprah broke down at the voting.' I literally wanted to sing 'America the Beautiful'!"
Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Whoopi Goldberg

Since campaigning began more than a year ago, Americans have seen many spirited debates between candidates, political pundits and television personalities. Some of the most heated conversations have occurred on the set of The View, a daytime talk show that tackles hot topics. On the show, Republican Elisabeth Hasselbeck has sparred with co-host Whoopi Goldberg, a supporter of Democratic candidate Barack Obama, on many occasions.

They may not agree on the issues, but Elisabeth and Whoopi can agree on one thing—the importance of voting. They're putting aside their differences on Election Day to encourage every registered voter to head to the polls.

"Get off your butts, America," Whoopi says. "Walk, run, skip, jump…whatever you have to do. Roll to get to the polls."

"That's right," Elisabeth says. "No more excuses. None."
Tyler Perry

Oprah's friend Tyler Perry is a man of many talents. He's an actor, director, producer and creator of the hilarious character "Madea." In October 2008, this famous Georgia resident took on another title—first-time voter. "I was shocked to learn he has actually never voted before…never!" Oprah says.

Until now, Tyler says he's been too embarrassed to admit he's never participated in an election. "When people look up to you, you should set a better example," he says. "But I hadn't voted because, like many people my age or many people like me or many people who come from the background that I come from, they think: 'What's the point in voting? It's not going to change anything.'"

Thankfully, Senator John McCain's and Senator Barack Obama's historic campaigns have changed Tyler's opinion of the electoral process. "It's really easy to just say, 'Oh, I'm just going to register to vote and not tell a soul.' Nobody would have been none the wiser," he says. "But I just want everybody who thinks the same way that I did—who thinks that your vote doesn't count, who thinks that you're too insignificant to matter—that it's the wrong way to think."

Tyler says he believes this presidential election is one of the most important in American history, and he encourages every citizen to follow his lead. "It can't be about me, me, me," he says. "It has to be about the health, growth and strength of this great nation we call America."
Tyler Perry votes in his first election.

To document this defining moment in Tyler's life, cameras follow him to a Georgia polling place. When he arrives, Tyler sees a long line of people waiting to vote early for the next president of the United States. Some say they've waited three or four hours, but they're not going anywhere until their ballot is cast.

"It's so great to see all these people a week early, trying to vote," Tyler says. "That's really great."

When it's Tyler's turn to step up to the voting booth for the very first time, he says he feels excited and empowered. "It's so cool seeing a candidate's name there," he says. "I had a big smile on my face. This is power."

Afterward, a volunteer gives Tyler a sticker that he wears with pride. It says, "I'm a Georgia voter!"

"Amen," a woman says.
Nettie Whittington

If you're still not sure whether you're going to vote, consider what it would feel like if someone said you couldn't vote. For Nettie Whittington, this was a reality for more than half her life.

Nettie was born in Farmhaven, Mississippi, in 1899…109 years ago. At that time, William McKinley was president, the Wright brothers had yet to fly a plane, people traveled by horse and carriage and television hadn't been invented.

On August 18, 1920, the 19th constitutional amendment was ratified, granting women the right to vote. Nettie was almost 21 years old at the time, but she didn't cast her first ballot until four decades later. Like countless other African-American men and women living in the South, racial tensions and Jim Crow laws kept Nettie away from the polls.

Then, in 1965, the government passed the Voting Rights Act, which outlawed discriminatory voting practices. Finally, every U.S. citizen could stand up and be counted, regardless of race, gender or economic status.

Over the years, Nettie has seen 19 presidents come and go, and she says she hasn't missed a single presidential election since she was given the right to vote.
Nettie and her family

Nettie has passed her passion for voting on to her family—a massive group of voters and future voters. Nettie has 11 children, 39 grandchildren, 47 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren! "The simple fact that she, at 109, is very passionate about casting her ballot…it's very important to me to follow suit because she is our matriarch of this family," her granddaughter Alicia says. "She is living history."

Nettie's grandson Daryl says that when he votes, he's not only voting for himself. "When you vote, it's not just a racial issue, it's more than just a Democrat or Republican issue—it's an American issue," he says.

Lyndon Johnson was the first president Nettie's son Allie was able to vote for, and he says he's been voting ever since. "We have a voice now that we didn't always have, and that's a great opportunity," he says.

Nettie thinks everyone should exercise their right to vote and offers her words of wisdom to the youngest voters. "Everybody ought to vote," she says. "Because I think it'll be important. Important for the next generation."
Oprah with new U.S. citizens voting for the first time

For many people around the world, America is a symbol of freedom. For the group of new U.S. citizens standing onstage with Oprah, voting for the first time in the 2008 election is a gift they're not taking for granted.

Viorica is originally from the former Soviet Union and became a U.S. citizen in the summer of 2008. After becoming a legal citizen, Viorica knew exactly what she wanted to do. "The first thing that I did when I walked out of the courtroom was go and register to vote," she says. Viorica says there is no comparison between voting in the United States and her home country. "When you live in a communist system, the whole process is staged. There is only one candidate on the ballot; you don't have a choice. So voting there is meaningless."

Natalie was born in Rwanda and says the voting in her home country is nothing like in the United States. " I don't think I would have voted, because I don't think it would have made a difference anyway, simply because the votes are manipulated [in Rwanda]."

Now that she is a U.S. citizen and can vote in her first election, Natalie says she wishes her parents were still alive so that she could thank them for the sacrifices they made for her. Like 800,000 Rwandans, Natalie's parents and older sister were killed in the Rwandan genocide. "I wish right now I could call my father and say, 'Dad, thank you. Mom, thank you,'" she says. "I can't. But I know they're watching over me."

Farnaz is also voting in her first election after moving from Iran and becoming a U.S. citizen in 2006. "I came to America 14 years ago, even though I had a good job," she says. "I had good income, I had a beautiful house, I had everything—the only thing I didn't have was freedom." After Farnaz casts her ballot, she says it's like a dream come true. "Now, I made it."
James Carville and Mary Matalin

Political consultants James Carville and Mary Matalin may be husband and wife, but when it comes to politics, they're on opposite ends of the spectrum. "In preparation for the big day, we're moving to our respected corners," Mary jokes. While James says he'll be spending Election Day in New York at CNN, Mary says she'll be continuing her ritual of taking her daughters to the polls with her. "I get all choked up. I cry," she says. "They roll their eyes."

Although their daughters may not be invested in the political process yet, James and Mary say they hope their differing views teach a bigger lesson. "What we try to do at home is, rather than fight, [ask,] 'How do we resolve what we disagree about?'" Mary says. "And that's good for them to learn how to do."

While they may be political opposites, the couple strongly agrees on one thing—everyone needs to get out and vote! "To me, it's almost incomprehensible that somebody wouldn't care enough to go out and vote, particularly in a presidential election," James says.

Mary says voting makes people a part of their community as well as something bigger. "There's no way a vote doesn't count in this country, because this is a very closely divided country," she says. "That's not a bad thing. That's a good thing. But just for the fun, if you don't believe us, just go out there try it one time—you'll be hooked."
Ekiti and Zavier's election party

Sisters Ekiti and Zavier have already cast their ballots and are eagerly anticipating election night. They've invited 30 to 40 friends over for a voting party at their home in Durham, North Carolina.

To tide them over while the results roll in, the sisters have created a party menu with a bevy of election night treats. "We have Lipstick on Pigs in a Blanket," Ekiti says. "We have Democratic Deviled Eggs, Chili for Change, Battleground Greens, Tax-Free Country Salad." The drinks are no less patriotic—red, white and blue Battleground Blitzes, Election Day Delights and Ballotinis!

If you're itching to vote now but just aren't sure how, you can find your registration status and polling location at CanIVote.org.

If you have problems, call the election protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE.

Have you already cast your ballot and are now just waiting on pins and needles for the results? Click here for CNN's election map with up-to-the-minute results from the 2008 presidential election.

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