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Michelle Obama wows Las Vegas crowds calling on them to vote

Michelle Obama wows Las Vegas crowds calling on them to vote

Michelle Obama stepped into the tumult of November’s midterm elections with a spirited call for citizens to vote, no matter how busy, discouraged or tuned-out they might feel.
“Our vote matters. It always does,” she said. “But only if we use that vote.”
Headlining her first rally for When We All Vote, the nonprofit initiative she launched in July, Obama spoke of her own disappointment with the political moment and criticised efforts to suppress voting by making it more difficult to register or cast ballots.”Believe me, I am frustrated, too,” Ms Obama told a crowd that repeatedly rose to its feel to cheer her return to the political arena. “I am sick of all the chaos and the nastiness of our politics. It’s exhausting and, frankly, it’s depressing. I understand wanting to shut it all out.
“But here’s the problem. While some folks are frustrated and tuned out and staying home on Election Day, trust me, other folks are showing up. Democracy continues with or without you.”
Ms Obama’s event was her first major foray in a busy season that marks her return to the public eye, 21 months after she left the White House. On 13 November, she launches her memoir, Becoming in Chicago and starts a national tour of appearances in arenas.
She plans to travel to Miami for a similar rally, capping a week of events by artists, athletes and celebrities recruited to her new cause. They include NBA star Chris Paul and actor Tom Hanks, as well singer Faith Hill, who will headline a rally in Nashville. The long-term, nonpartisan goal, Ms Obama says, is to change culture of voting.
When We All Vote, designed this year with the help of a small team of advisers, addresses issues of low turnout that Ms Obama has long discussed on the campaign trail, albeit in service to Democratic candidates.
In 2014, the last midterm elections, only 36 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot, the lowest turnout since 1942, according to the US Elections Project.
The organisation is paying special attention to demographic groups that tend to register in lower numbers, including African Americans, Hispanics and young people. Kyle Lierman, an Obama administration veteran who directs the effort, said, “We are able to make sure we’re doubling down our efforts and reaching them, but we really are trying to reach all Americans.”
The organisation is facing scepticism in some Republican quarters.
“This is the furthest you can possibly get from being nonpartisan,” said Keith Schipper, spokesman for Republican Sen. Dean Heller’s closely-watched re-election fight against Nevada Democrat congresswoman Jacky Rosen. “It is nothing more than a progressive voter registration drive designed to boost Jacky Rosen’s struggling campaign.”
Two Democrats advising campaigns this year said Ms Obama’s presence is likely to help their candidates even when she does not speak of party politics. Democrats have a registration advantage in Nevada.
Democratic congressional candidate Susie Lee worked the Las Vegas crowd. “Let’s do this. Let’s get our democracy back,” she said as one supporter asked for a selfie.
She said she was thrilled that Ms Obama chose Las Vegas: “Michelle coming out here and energizing people to commit to voting is what democracy is all about.”
Ms Obama and her team are using contacts and marketing techniques they developed in the White House to reach adults who have not registered and those who vote only sporadically, if at all.