Tags: 2020 Elections | michelle obama | voter turnout | election 2020

Michelle Obama Starts Program to Increase Voter Turnout

michelle obama is shown speaking at an event for the obama foundation
Vincent Thian/AP

By    |   Friday, 22 May 2020 10:17 AM

Michelle Obama launched an initiative geared toward increasing voter turnout in the 2020 election on Thursday, The Washington Post reports. 

Civic Cities was announced during a Zoom call with a coalition of 31 mayors from across the country who are working together to come up with ways to increase voter registration and civic engagement.

“This current crisis is a clear reminder of how critical it is to have competent leadership at all levels of government,” the former first lady told the U.S. Conference of Mayors, announcing the launch of the program. 

“Voting is bigger than any one party, any one issue, any one candidate, any one election,” she added. “The point is that no matter what party, what ideology, we want everyone to participate. We need your voices in this with us.”

She said the election is approaching quickly and the pandemic will “likely have a significant impact on the November election and on how voters across the country cast their ballots.”

“Already in state and local elections, we’ve seen voters forced to choose between protecting their health and making their voices heard. And that’s absolutely not acceptable,” she said. 

She said it is time to make sure the health pandemic doesn’t “turn into a crisis of democracy, too.”

Mayors proposed ideas like adding drop boxes for mail-in ballots all over their cities so fewer people had to wait in line at polling places. Tacoma, WA, Mayor Victoria Woodards suggested other cities make voter registration automatic, with an option to opt out, when getting the new enhanced driver's licenses, something Tacoma already does. 

Obama’s partners in the program are mostly Democrats, including Los Angeles’s Eric Garcetti, Chicago’s Lori Lightfoot, Atlanta’s Keisha Lance Bottoms, and D.C.’s Muriel E. Bowser. But there are three Republicans and two independents involved. 

John Giles, the Republican mayor of Mesa, Ariz., who is part of Civic Cities, said he wants to target Hispanic voters and young voters. He’s looking to use the initiative to gain ideas from fellow mayors.

“I have a great deal of respect for Mrs. Obama, but she was not the motivating force for my getting involved,” he told The Washington Post. “The cause is really the compelling reason to get involved.”

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Michelle Obama launched an initiative geared toward increasing voter turnout in the 2020 election on Thursday, The Washington Post reports. 
michelle obama, voter turnout, election 2020
Friday, 22 May 2020 10:17 AM
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