Whether you're a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or something else entirely, Michelle Obama wants you to get out and vote this November.
That's the message behind the launch of When We All Vote, a nonpartisan group geared toward getting people registered and excited to vote in the 2018 midterms. In the campaign's launch video, former first lady Michelle Obama teams up with Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monáe, Chris Paul, Faith Hill, and Tim McGraw to explain what the program's all about.
The video is funny and cute, but the subject matter is really important.
Lin-Manuel Miranda is not throwing away his chance to make his voice heard this November. Nor, his shot, presumably. GIFs from When We All Vote/YouTube.
Young people are the least likely to cast a ballot in the midterms. They're also the ones who'll be affected the longest by the lasting changes politicians put in place.
A June poll found that 74% of senior citizens are "absolutely certain" to vote in the November midterms. By comparison, that number drops to just 28% when you ask adults between the ages 18 and 29. Yikes! That's not great.
"4 million Americans turn 18 this year. That's huge!" Monáe says in the video. She's right, and if those 4 million all make it out to vote, young people can play an important role in shaping the future.
"Four million Americans turn 18 this year," says Janelle Monae. "That's huge!"
Democracy works best when we all participate in it. Yes, even those we disagree with.
That's what makes it so important that this initiative is nonpartisan. If we want to have a serious conversation about civic engagement, we have to break down the barriers that keep people from taking part in the electoral process. Sure, just 36.7% of eligible voters cast a ballot in the 2014 midterm elections, but beyond disinterest (of which, sadly, there was some), there are a lot of barriers that keep people from participating. That's why it's good to get started on this now. If you work a job where you're not able to step out to vote this November, consider getting an absentee ballot, voting early, or finding another alternative.
"There's no off-season for getting out the vote," says NBA star Chris Paul.