Illustration for article titled Michelle Obama Announces New ‘When We All Vote’ Initiative to Make Voting More Accessible Amid Pandemic
Photo: Martin Sylvest / Ritzau Scanpix (AFP/Getty Images)

Michelle Obama stays bound and determined to forever hold a special place in our hearts, doesn’t she?

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As the coronavirus pandemic continues to turn daily activities into daunting tasks, the former first lady is doing the work in promoting When We All Vote’s new voting initiative aimed at making it easier for people to cast their ballots via mail-in voting, early in-person voting and online voting registration, according to a press release sent out Monday.

“Americans should never have to choose between making their voices heard and keeping themselves and their families safe,” Obama said in the release. “We know that barriers to voting existed before this crisis, especially for young people and communities of color. Expanding access to vote-by-mail, online voter registration and early voting are critical steps for this moment—and they’re long overdue. 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.”

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Mrs. Obama—who launched When We All Vote in 2018 with co-chairs actor Tom Hanks, actor and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monae, NBA player Chris Paul and country music superstars Faith Hill and Tim McGraw—is pushing for expanded voting options following Wisconsin’s primary election last week where thousands of people gathered and waited in line for hours without protective gear and despite a shelter-in-place order issued in March.

Michelle’s husband (you know the guy, right?), former President Barack Obama, criticized the “debacle,” tweeting similar sentiments to his wife’s that “No one should be forced to choose between their right to vote and their right to stay healthy…”

Reasonable people would agree with Mrs. Obama that there should be “nothing partisan” about making voting more accessible during a crisis, but y’all’s president Donald “Reopen America” Trump tweeted Wednesday that “Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to statewide mail-in voting. Democrats are clamoring for it. Tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn’t work out well for Republicans.”

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What Trump likely means is that more people voting “doesn’t work out well for Republicans” as there is zero evidence that voter fraud is as rampant as he often suggests or that voting-by-mail would exacerbate the non-problem. However, Trump himself has essentially admitted that making it easier to vote is bad for the GOP.

According to WWMP, most states are already implementing some of the voting policies Obama is calling for.

Currently, five states — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah — conduct all elections entirely by mail, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 21 other states have laws that allow certain smaller elections, such as school board contests, to be conducted by mail.

Forty states, including the five with all-mail elections, and the District of Columbia offer in-person early voting, according to the state legislatures’ association. Delaware has enacted early voting, but it will not be in place until 2022. Nine states do not offer in-person voting before Election Day.

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We hope all aspects of the When We All Vote initiative are implemented nationwide. (Almost as much as we wish Mrs. Obama could be our next president.)

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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