Sep. 21, 2012 at 10:51 AM ET
Leave it to the cast of “West Wing” to continue teaching the nation about democracy, six years after going off the air.
Martin Sheen, Allison Janney, Bradley Whitford and other key cast members reunited for a public service announcement about non-partisan ballots.
Oh, the four-minute video also includes a major plug for Bridget Mary McCormack, a Michigan State Supreme Court candidate whose sister also acted on the show.
The web “episode” addresses the fact that many Michigan voters who check off a straight party-line ticket unknowingly skip crucial parts of their ballot where nonpartisan candidates, like those for the state Supreme Court, are listed.
McCormack described the problem to her sister, Mary McCormack, who played Deputy National Security Adviser Kate Harper on “West Wing.” Mary then called in a few favors.
“It sort of snowballed and all of sudden, Martin Sheen signed up and I was like, ‘Whoa,’” Bridget McCormack said in an interview with Michigan Live, a web news site.
A slightly shorter version of the video that does not mention McCormack was also made.
“It doesn’t even matter what side of the issue you’re on. More of us should participate. That’s really the only goal — it’s a real public education goal,” said McCormack, an associate dean at the University of Michigan Law School.
The Michigan Democratic Party nominated her and two other candidates to the state’s high court, although their party affiliation will not appear on the ballot.
In addition to Sheen, Richard Schiff, Joshua Malina, Janel Moloney and Lily Tomlin also are featured in the video ad, which parodies the show's rapid-fire dialogue and its signature walk-and-talk.
McCormack’s campaign paid less than $5,000 to make the video. The costs included insurance, rental fees, food and props. The cast and crew donated their time free of charge.