In a letter published in the New York Times on Sunday, former First Lady Michelle Obama is calling on elected officials to pass voting rights legislation and asking for the citizens of the United States to join her and When We All Vote in registering a million new voters across the country before the midterm elections.
One year ago, we witnessed an unprecedented assault on our Capitol and our democracy. From Georgia and Florida to Iowa and Texas, states passed laws designed to make it harder for Americans to vote. And in other state legislatures across the nation, lawmakers have attempted to do the same.
This type of voter suppression is not new. Generations of Americans have persevered through poll taxes, literacy tests, and laws designed to strip away their power—and they’ve done it by organizing, by protesting, and most importantly, by overcoming the barriers in front of them in order to vote. And now, we’ve got to do the same. We’ve got to vote like the future of our democracy depends on it. And we must give Congress no choice but to act decisively to protect the right to vote and make the ballot box more accessible for everyone.
As civic engagement, voting rights, and voter mobilization organizations representing millions of Americans, we are joining together to ensure that Congress acts on voting rights legislation — and ensure that every voice is heard and every vote is counted in the 2022 midterm elections and beyond. We’re asking you to join us.
We stand united in our conviction to organize and turn out voters in the 2022 midterm elections, and make our democracy work for all of us. Collectively we will*:
- Recruit and train at least 100,000 volunteers throughout 2022 to register and turn out voters in their communities.
- Register more than a million new voters across the country.
- Organize at least 100,000 Americans to contact their Senators, calling on them to do everything they can to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
- Recruit thousands of lawyers to protect voters in the states where the freedom to vote is threatened.
- Commit to educate voters on how to vote safely in their state.
As John Lewis said, “Democracy is not a state. It is an act.” And protecting it requires all of us. That’s why his generation organized, marched, and died to defend the very rights that are under attack today. And it’s why we’re calling on community leaders, organizations, businesses and all Americans to join our efforts in this critical moment for our history and the future of our country.
The former First Lady is the founder of When We All Vote, a nonpartisan organization that brings together individuals, institutions, brands, and organizations to register new voters across the country and advance civic education for the entire family and voters of every age to build an informed and engaged electorate for today and generations to come.