Former First Lady Michelle Obama and her voting rights group When We All Vote have thrown their support behind vote-by-mail options amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” she said in a statement provided to Axios.
The announcement comes as Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) in the House and Senator Ron Wyden (Ore.) in the Senate put forth The Resilient Elections During Quarantines and Natural Disasters Act of 2020, legislation to address the impact of COVID-19 on the democratic process.
“The Resilient Elections During Quarantines and Natural Disasters Act of 2020 addresses the serious threat to our democracy posed by COVID-19 by requiring states and localities, within 30 days, to create and publish a plan to operate their elections in the event that large numbers of voters or poll workers have been subjected to a mandatory quarantine or a self-quarantine at the advice of government officials or health experts,” according to a memo on Senator Wyden’s website detailing the goals of the legislation.
Valerie Jarrett, the board chair of When We All Vote, said the recent controversy in Wisconsin, where the Supreme Court struck down the governor’s attempt to cancel the election and forced people to brave the dangers of the outdoors to exercise their civic duty, “was just deeply, profoundly concerning.”
“Our goal is to just try to make sure we maximize the number of citizens who can participate in that most fundamental and important responsibility,” she said.