Yup, it's that time again: American voters are staring into the face of the presidential election, and it's staring right back. With early voting kick-starting this week in several states, people across the nation are heading to their designated polling places and casting their ballots. In one of the most contentious presidential elections of the decade, it's incredibly important to make sure your voice is heard — that's why Michelle Obama's voting challenge on Instagram is so impactful, yet so easy to do.
In an Oct. 15 Instagram post, Obama called her followers to action, encouraging them to make a difference in the upcoming presidential election. "Here's my challenge to you," Obama wrote. "Text three people in your life today who might not vote and ask them to join your #VotingSquad and make a plan to vote together."
The former FLOTUS has always been a fierce proponent of voting, and has helped launched the "When We All Vote" initiative to motivate eligible Americans to exercise their fundamental right to suffrage. The non-profit, nonpartisan organization aims to increase voter participation in every election, using grassroots efforts to "change the culture around voting" and close the race and age gaps in voting access that American elections are so infamous for.
This is a far cry from the current White House administration's sentiments on voter participation. In a March 30 segment with Fox & Friends, President Donald Trump acknowledged that increased voter participation would be bad news for the Republican party. When referencing a stimulus proposal from Senate Democrats that would have made voting in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic easier by increasing funding for absentee and vote-by-mail options, Trump stated, “The things they had in there were crazy. They had things — levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.” The White House did not respond to Elite Daily’s request for comment at the time.
Experts agree that voter suppression tactics during the 2020 presidential election cycle are being ramped up to keep younger and minority voters from the polling booths — both populations that, according to a report from Pew Research, tend to favor the Democratic party. That's why Obama's Instagram challenge is so impactful: It's meant to encourage and empower potential voters who may not otherwise participate in elections to create a voting plan, and make sure their voices are hear loud and clear on Nov. 3 — no matter how many obstacles are in the way.