Michelle Obama, Stacey Abrams team up, issue call to action on voting rights

·3 min read

WASHINGTON — Former first lady Michelle Obama and Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams have paired up in a video released Thursday to urge Americans to register to vote and call for action against new election regulations across the country.

Praising high voter turnout in the 2020 election, Obama tells viewers that voters "showed the world our power." Abrams cautions, however, that voting rights "are under attack" and calls on voters to resist the efforts.

"Right now, dangerous legislation is being proposed across the country that limits the freedom to vote, cast our ballots and have our votes counted," Obama warns.

Abrams argues the bills will "disproportionately impact Black, brown and working-class voters and voters with disabilities," an analysis shared by voting rights groups across the country.

"We need you in this fight with us," Obama says.

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The video was jointly produced by When We All Vote, a nonpartisan voter mobilization project founded and co-chaired by Obama, and Fair Fight Action, Abrams' nonpartisan voter turnout effort.

The duo also outline the "game plan" of both organizations for increasing voter participation, ranging from lobbying in Washington to local civic engagement.

"We're calling on members of Congress every day to tell them to protect and strengthen our access to the ballot," Obama says, while Abrams notes that activists are "checking out voter registration status and ensuring everyone in our community is registered to vote."

"And we're working to change the future of this nation," Obama promised. "It's not going to be easy but nothing this important ever is."

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After 2020, states clamp down on voting rights

Abrams, the former Democratic nominee for governor in Georgia, blamed voter suppression for her 2018 loss. Abrams has long seen expanding the electorate and combatting voter suppression as integral to Democratic politics, especially in the South.

In 2013, she founded The New Georgia Project, an initiative focused on registering minority voters in the state. After her 2018 loss, Abrams founded Fair Fight, which focuses on voter mobilization across the country.

In the wake of President Joe Biden's 2020 victory, Republican-controlled state legislatures around the country have enacted policies ostensibly targeting election security, which advocates fear will lead to voter suppression.

Combatting alleged voter fraud has become a centerpiece of Republican politics as former President Donald Trump continues to rail against the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election.

One-third of states have enacted policies that will make it harder to vote, according to the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice. There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the election, contrary to the former president's claims.

Democrats have in turn rallied around expanding voting access as both a civil rights issue and one integral to their future political success. Many in the party have attributed Biden's 2020 wins in crucial swing states like Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin at least in part to adopting Abrams' strategies on voter mobilization.

"We need you," Abrams and Obama implore at the end of the video. "Are you in?"

Follow Matthew Brown online @mrbrownsir.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Michelle Obama, Stacey Abrams issue call to action on voting rights