Democrats have been pushing lately for mail-in voting like no other issue before.
It begs the question, do Democrats truly care about voter participation, or do they carry ulterior motives?
Now, former first-lady Michelle Obama is throwing her hat into the ring. Her organization, When We All Vote, announced its support for Democratic legislation that would expand mail-in voting and early voting. In addition to the former-first lady, the organization also boasts celebrities such as Tom Hanks and Faith Hill as co-chairs.
President Trump previously has expressed his concerns with mail-in voting, primarily in that it opens a larger number of doors for fraudulent voting.
CNN has the latest for the campaign:
Former first lady Michelle Obama and the non-partisan organization she co-chairs on Monday threw its support behind Democratic legislation seeking to expand access to mail-in voting and early voting amid the coronavirus outbreak in the US.
“Americans should never have to choose between making their voices heard and keeping themselves and their families safe,” Obama said in a statement. “Expanding access to vote-by-mail, online voter registration and early voting are critical steps for this moment — and they’re long overdue.”
The effort backed by the former first lady comes as Democrats increase their callsfor states to expand mail-in and early voting, while some Republicans have echoed President Donald Trump’s opposition to expanding the practice amid the coronavirus pandemic. The crisis has caused scores of large gatherings to be canceled or postponed, including primary contests, several of which have been pushed into the summer.
As the calls have increased, Trump has repeatedly dismissed the notion of a nationwide vote-by-mail system and falsely claimed that mail-in voting is the source of widespread voter fraud.
Obama’s statement, released by When We All Vote, a nonpartisan organization committed to voter registration she co-chairs, said, “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 Democratic legislation Obama and When We All Vote are putting their support behind seeks to put in place national standards for voting in this year’s presidential election and would require states to offer absentee voting to all voters, allow voters to request ballots electronically, and allow ballots to be requested up to five days before an election.
The bill, introduced last month by Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, would also add $500 million in federal money to prepare state election systems for the coronavirus.
Obama rarely publicly voices her political views, and this is the first time the organization has put their support behind any legislation. In previous years, Obama has urged Americans to participate in elections, including in 2018, when she said at an event that she is “sick of all the chaos and the nastiness of our politics,” but that the importance of voting still remains.
Many responded on Twitter to the news:
Former first lady Michelle Obama and her celebrity-backed voting “rights” group are announcing on Monday support for a Democrat-sponsored bill to increase vote-by-mail options in U.S. elections.
“Launched in 2018 by co-chairs Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monae, Chris Paul, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, When We All Vote is changing the culture around voting using a data-driven and multifaceted approach to increase participation in elections,” the organization’s website states.
“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,” Obama said in a statement to Axios.
Axios reported on the development, saying that “it comes as Democrats await the Obamas’ return to the political stage to help Joe Biden”:
The legislation was introduced by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) in the House and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) in the Senate.
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.
“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, Axios reported. “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,” Jarrett said.
Check out the President's response when questioned about his thoughts on mail-in voting: