Michelle Obama has announced a replacement plan to make it easier to vote by mail, register online and expand early voting, as states race to work out how they will hold elections amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The former first lady announced the erupt once we All Vote, a voter participation group she started in 2018.
The group will push lawmakers to offer voters more options, including extended deadlines, for requesting and returning mail-in ballots freed from the charge or with prepaid postage.
It will also push states to offer voters more flexibility regarding where they will cast a ballot during early voting. Such flexibility might be critical since many jurisdictions have had to significantly reduce in-person voting options as poll workers have dropped out over COVID-19 concerns.
“We know that barriers to voting existed before this crisis, especially for children and communities of color,” Obama said during a statement.
“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 measure 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 during this cornerstone of yank life.”
Donald Trump has strongly resisted calls to extend vote by mail. The president, who himself voted by mail in March, has falsely said that casting mail-in ballots will cause voter fraud, which is extremely rare.
Trump has also said making it easier to vote would mean “you’d never have a Republican elected during this country again”.
Republicans in Congress have strongly resisted efforts to expand voting by mail and other efforts to ease voting restrictions.
Obama’s announcement comes but every week after a disastrous election in Wisconsin, where voters visited the polls while the state was under a stay-at-home order.
An unprecedented 1.2 million people requested absentee ballots, overwhelming election officials. there have been several reports from voters who never received ballots within the mail, prompting an investigation from the Wisconsin elections commission and therefore us mail.
Without mentioning Trump, Barack Obama indirectly weighed in on his comments last week, tweeting that an epidemic shouldn’t be wont to “compromise our democracy” and inspiring Americans to “check the facts of the vote by mail”.
“Everyone should have the proper to vote safely, and that we have the facility to form that happen,” Obama said in another tweet.
“This shouldn’t be a partisan issue.”