Gerald Herbert / AP
Published Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018 | 8:49 a.m.
Updated Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018 | 10:13 a.m.
WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama will headline voter registration rallies in Las Vegas and Miami later this month during a week of action to encourage voting for the November elections by a nonpartisan organization she co-chairs, organizers said Wednesday.
The former first lady is hosting the Las Vegas event on Sept. 23 and the Miami rally on Sept. 28, said Stephanie Young, communications director for When We All Vote.
Mrs. Obama announced last month that When We All Vote will mark the 53rd anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits racial discrimination in voting, by urging Americans to hold events Sept. 22-29 to sign people up to vote in the Nov. 6 midterm elections and beyond — regardless of political affiliation.
She planned to address volunteers during a conference call Wednesday evening.
"Voting is the only way to ensure that our values and priorities are represented in the halls of power. And it's not enough to just vote for president every four years," Mrs. Obama said in July when she announced When We All Vote. She said it's just as important to vote for mayor, governor, school board members, state lawmakers and members of Congress.
Mrs. Obama has long been one of the most popular draws among Democrats, but so far has committed to just helping When We All Vote boost voter registration and participation. She has kept a low profile since leaving the White House in January 2017, and it remains an open question whether she will campaign for any Democratic candidates.
Her memoir, "Becoming," is due in bookstores on Nov. 13 — exactly one week after midterm balloting.
Her husband, former President Barack Obama, plans to campaign for several House Democratic candidates from California at an event in Orange County on Saturday, announced Ben Ray Lujan, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Obama isn't limiting his campaigning to Congress and has scheduled a Sept. 13 appearance in Cleveland for Ohio gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray, who served Obama as the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Obama recently endorsed 81 Democrats up and down the ballot in 13 states, and he is expected to do more campaigning as Nov. 6 approaches.
His campaign activity would mark a contrast from his predecessor, George W. Bush, who practically avoided the trail in 2010, the first midterm election after he turned the presidency over to Obama. Bush had adopted a policy of withholding public comment on his successor. He also released his memoir after that year's election, and went on a national media tour to promote it.
Former President Bill Clinton also campaigned during the 2002 midterms, the first under his successor, George W. Bush.
This year, Democrats hope to ride a wave of anger among liberals toward President Donald Trump to take back control of at least the House, while Republicans aim to keep control of both the House and the Senate in order to protect the president from possible impeachment proceedings and congressional investigations.
Janelle Monae, another When We All vote co-chair, is scheduled to host an event at Spelman College in Atlanta.
The Las Vegas, Miami and Atlanta events are among those When We All Vote is planning for a dozen flagship cities, including Detroit, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Tennessee, Houston and Cleveland. Other co-chairs are actor Tom Hanks, "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, the NBA's Chris Paul, and singers Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.
The nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization says it will help register anyone who wants to vote in the fall.