Earlier in August, the former first lady of the United States was featured in a video for "When We All Vote," a non-profit organization that encourages voting, as she discussed the importance of getting to the polls. Now, in another video for "When We All Vote," Michelle Obama gets to the bottom of why voting matters — while taking on the different reasons people give for not showing up.
Right off the bat, Obama said in the video, "Why should I vote? Nothing ever changes. The system is rigged. Why bother?" In a September report, NPR noted that generally American voter turnout in midterm elections is low. The Washington Post reported similarly on tepid and low youth voter turnout in the midterm elections.
"Whether you're trying to get dinner on the table after working a double shift, dropping baby off with grandma, or studying for exams, voting can feel like the furthest thing from your mind," she said. "You might even feel like it's just not worth it, but that's exactly what some people want you to think."
According to Obama, it comes down to getting out and making yourself heard by casting your own vote — no matter what your reasons are. "The truth is," she said, "when we stay home, things stay the same or they get worse."
"When we all vote, we get new ideas and new energy," Obama said in the video. "We get leaders who share our values and listen to our voices. That’s how we change America. And that's why it's so important to register right now and vote this November." Here's the full video.
The former first lady has been active with encouraging people to vote. In her August PSA, Obama discussed the Voting Rights Act from 1965. "Hi, everybody," Obama said in that first video. "I'm going to get straight to the point: I need your help. More than 50 years ago this week, the Voting Rights Act [of 1965] became law and for decades, it's made our democracy stronger, giving every American from every background and walk of life, the right to vote."
With some five decades since the act was passed, Obama said that people may have forgotten or taken its importance for granted. "Sometimes it's easy to forget all the work it took to get this law passed," she said in August. "All the organizing and marching. All the volunteers who registered voters. All the folks who, even if they knew they'd be turned away at the polls, stood up time and again for the right to vote."
If you're interested in learning more about voting and getting registered, you can check out guides provided by When We All Vote on the organization's website. There's even educational material on understanding what you can do and can't do when it comes to registration and helping others understand the process. It differs state to state, so people can log their own zip codes in and take it from there.
Plus, if you want to see When We All Vote in live action, check out their events page. There's a lot going on and you can be part of it, too.