In 2016, over 100 million people didn’t vote. In addition, Black voter turnout dipped under 60 percent, for the first time since 2000. The key to a Democratic win in November is voter turnout, which former first lady Michelle Obama knows all too well.
In an interview conducted by TV showrunner Shonda Rhimes for Harper’s Bazaar, Michelle Obama said, “Some folks don’t see the impact of their vote on their day-to-day lives—if the trains still run, the kids are still going to school, and they still have a job, what difference does one vote really make, right? When you get whole families thinking like that, whole communities, then you start to see how the impact multiplies.”
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She continued, “But the pandemic has pulled the curtain back on that line of thinking. It showed us just how important it is to have competent leaders in office—leaders who prioritize their citizens’ well-being over their own poll numbers. We have all sorts of examples right now of that leadership in action and its effect on our daily lives.”
Obama also pushed people to see beyond just the president when voting, “So every single person out there needs to ask themselves, do they trust the folks in charge to make the right call? Whether it’s school boards or statehouses or those in Washington—are my neighborhood’s interests being represented, or are they being ignored? They’re questions we should be asking every year, in every election, and at every level of government. Because when a crisis hits, there are no do-overs.”
She also gave talking points for people how to dismiss their vote, “When I’m talking to young people, I like to ask them a simple question: Would you let your grandma decide what you wear on a night out to the club? Would you want her picking out the car you drive or the apartment you live in? Not many people want someone else making their decisions for them, especially when that person might not see the world the same way as they do.”
She added, “That’s what happens when you don’t vote: You are giving away your power to someone else—someone who doesn’t see the world the same as you. You’re letting them make some really key decisions about the way you live. And the truth is, that’s exactly what some folks are hoping you’ll do. They’re hoping that you’ll stay home so that they can make these important decisions for you.”
If you are unsure if you are registered to vote or need to register, go to Vote.org.