Michelle Obama has thrown her full support behind expanding vote-by-mail options amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The new legislation allows voters to vote by absentee ballot, which makes it easier for voters to obtain mail-in ballots.
The Obama group encourages U.S. citizens to pressure their lawmakers to expand access to vote-by-mail.
Obama said in a statement:
“There is nothing partisan about striving to live up to the promise of our country, making the democracy we all cherish more accessible, and protecting our neighbors, friends, and loved ones as they participate in this cornerstone of American life.”
Board chairwoman of When We All Vote, Valerie Jarrett, declared:
“It was just deeply, profoundly concerning.”
“Our goal is to just try to make sure we maximize the number of citizens who can participate in that most fundamental and important responsibility,” she added.
Axios.com reports: Why it matters: It’s the first time the celebrity-backed organization has endorsed federal legislation — and it comes as Democrats await the Obamas’ return to the political stage to help Joe Biden.
- “There is nothing partisan about striving to live up to the promise of our country; making the democracy we all cherish more accessible; and protecting our neighbors, friends and loved ones as they participate in this cornerstone of American life,” the former first lady said in a statement provided to Axios.
- The group will support the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020 by Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Ron Wyden.
- The Obamas were staying mostly on the sidelines of the 2020 election through the Democratic primary season, but they spoke out against the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision preventing the state’s voting deadline from being extended.
Between the lines: “We all saw those lines” of Wisconsin voters putting their health at risk to vote, said adviser and family friend Valerie Jarrett, who is board chair of When We All Vote.
- “It was just deeply, profoundly concerning,” Jarrett said.
- “Our goal is to just try to make sure we maximize the number of citizens who can participate in that most fundamental and important responsibility.”
- The group will encourage people to call or email members of Congress in support of expanded access to vote-by-mail.
What to watch: Michelle Obama has been testing creative ways to promote voting rights since in-person gatherings are cancelled.
- She hosted an online voter registration “couch party” in March with DJ D-Nice. Jarrett said another is planned for April 20.
- The nonpartisan group also will be focused on educating eligible voters about voter registration and vote-by-mail, communications director Crystal Carson told Axios.
The backdrop: She launched When We All Vote in 2018, with co-chairs Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monáe, Chris Paul, Faith Hill, and Tim McGraw.
- Since leaving the White House, she’s also written and promoted her best-selling memoir and launched a production company with her husband — which landed them a Netflix agreement. She’s also continued promoting higher education.