BREAKING: Michelle Obama to push for expanding vote-by-mail options

According to a new exclusive report from Axios, Michelle Obama will put her support behind expanded vote-by-mail options.

Friday, former President Barack Obama has joined the Democrat party’s push to institute mass “vote by mail.” Obama tweeted:

No one should be forced to choose between their right to vote and their right to stay healthy like the debacle in Wisconsin this week.

Everyone should have the right to vote safely, and we have the power to make that happen. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

Axios reports Michelle Obama will throw her support today behind expanding vote-by-mail options, advisers tell Axios, with her voting rights group embracing legislation before Congress amid coronavirus fears.

Why it matters: It’s the first time the celebrity-backed organization has endorsed federal legislation — and it comes as Democrats await the Obamas’ return to the political stage to help Joe Biden.

  • “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,” the former first lady said in a statement provided to Axios.
  • The legislation was introduced by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) in the House and Sen. Ron Wyden in the Senate.
  • The Obamas were staying mostly on the sidelines of the 2020 election through the Democratic primary season, but they spoke out against the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision preventing the state’s voting deadline from being extended.

Between the lines: “We all saw those lines” of Wisconsin voters putting their health at risk to vote, said adviser and family friend Valerie Jarrett, who is board chair of When We All Vote.

  • “It was just deeply, profoundly concerning,” Jarrett said.
  • “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.”
  • The group will encourage people to call or email members of Congress in support of expanded access to vote-by-mail.

What to watch: Michelle Obama has been testing creative ways to promote voting rights since in-person gatherings are cancelled.

  • She hosted an online voter registration “couch party” in March with DJ D-Nice. Jarrett said another is planned for April 20.
  • The nonpartisan group also will be focused on educating eligible voters about voter registration and vote-by-mail, communications director Crystal Carson told Axios.