Former First Lady Michelle Obama announced in a letter on Sunday her support to register more than one million new voters ahead of the 2022 midterm elections as concerns grow among Democrats over numerous House members facing tight political battles.
Obama, founder of the voter registration movement When We All Vote, also noted in her letter that the coalition would urge 100,000 Americans to contact their senators in support of the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
“In 2020 we made our power known at the polls; now, those who oppose progress are working to silence us. That’s why we’re joining 30 of our allies to #FightForOurVote in 2022,” the former first lady’s coalition tweeted on Sunday.
In 2020 we made our power known at the polls; now, those who oppose progress are working to silence us.
— When We All Vote (@WhenWeAllVote) January 9, 2022
“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,” Obama wrote.
“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,” she added.
The announcement comes as lawmakers consider voting rights bills in the coming weeks. In addition, the news comes after more than two dozen House Democrats have announced plans to retire or run for another office in 2022.
Most recently Michigan Democratic Rep. Brenda Lawrence announced her retirement on Tuesday, making her the 25th House Democrat who won’t seek reelection.
“Today, after reflecting on my journey — and oh, my goodness, what a journey — and having conversations with my family, I am announcing that I will not be seeking reelection to Congress,” Lawrence said in a video posted to Twitter Tuesday night.
This year marks my 30th year in elected public service, and I've had the good fortune of serving Michiganders on the local and national level.
After reflecting on my journey & having conversations with my family, I'm announcing that I will not be seeking re-election to Congress. pic.twitter.com/QBmdExSKaj
— Brenda Lawrence (@RepLawrence) January 5, 2022
“I am incredibly grateful for the people in Michigan’s 14th Congressional District, who placed their trust and vote in me — in me, just a little black girl from the east side of Detroit. You made me your congresswoman. It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to be your voice in Congress and to fight for our communities and issues in Washington, D.C., on a national platform,” she added.
The decisions leave the party’s razor-thin lead under House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) at risk of flipping under a “red wave” in November’s election. Obama’s movement appears to address the need to register more voters in key districts ahead of the midterms.
Stephanie Young, executive director of When We All Vote, also shared the vision of the new movement:
In 2020, we saw record voter turnout, especially among voters of color and young people, because of the work of these leading organizations. Now, a small group of elected officials fixated on maintaining their waning political power has purposely put up barriers to make it harder for some Americans to vote, jeopardizing our democracy. We will not back down. We are organizing and preparing to fight day in and day out in 2022. And that fight starts with our collective effort to press Congress to do the right thing and pass critical voting rights legislation to protect voters and their access to the ballot box.
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