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When We All Vote (WWAV)

Overview

Established in 2018 by former First Lady Michelle Obama, When We All Vote (WWAV) is a self-described “national, nonpartisan initiative on a mission to change the culture around voting and to increase participation in each and every election by helping to close the race and age gap” — i.e., to increase voter turnout among nonwhite […]


Established in 2018 by former First Lady Michelle Obama, When We All Vote (WWAV) is a self-described “national, nonpartisan initiative on a mission to change the culture around voting and to increase participation in each and every election by helping to close the race and age gap” — i.e., to increase voter turnout among nonwhite minorities and young people, demographics that tend to vote heavily Democrat. Though professing to be a “nonpartisan” 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity, WWAV is in fact a politically partisan ally of the Democratic Party. When the group was formed just in time to mobilize voters ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, its leadership was heavily stocked with former Obama Administration officials:

When Michelle Obama created WWAV in 2018, the organization was co-chaired by Michelle Obama and various liberal celebrities including: Tom Hanks, Megan Rapinoe, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Chris Paul, Janelle Monae, Selena Gomez, Faith Hill, Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington, and Tracee Ellis Ross. To view a list of present-day WWAV co-chairs, click here.

WWAV is funded by a liberal nonprofit called the New Venture Fund, a subsidiary of the Arabella Advisors consulting firm. Between 2006 and early 2020, Arabella raised roughly $2.4 billion for various leftwing, pro-Democrat activist organizations. During the midterm election year of 2018 alone, it discreetly generated approximately one-fourth of that total, or $607 million (with $4.2 million going to WWAV).

WWAV advances the Democrat-crafted narrative claiming that “democracy” and the “voting rights” of nonwhite minorities are under attack in the United States as a result of Republican efforts to implement stricter standards for voter ID and election integrity: “After record-breaking voter turnout in 2020, Republican lawmakers in at least 47 states are pushing voting suppression bills that put up barriers to voting that will disproportionately impact Black, Brown, and young voters. For democracy to work for all Americans, it must include all of us.”

WWAV claims to be “guided” by such “voting principles” as the following, which are taken verbatim from WWAV’s website:

  • Ensure [that] every American can easily register to vote through expanding online and automatic voter registration: “The United States has one of the lowest voter turnout rates among developed nations, with nearly one in four eligible voters not registered…. If implemented nationwide, automatic voter registration could add as many as 50 million new eligible voters to the rolls – the largest group of new voters since the 19th Amendment was ratified over one hundred years ago.”
  • Expand access voting through early, no-excuse in-person voting and vote by mail: “We believe Americans should have more options to vote and time off in order to vote so they don’t have to choose between a paycheck and casting their ballot. In 2020, 46 states and the District of Columbia offered at least some opportunity for voters to cast their ballot early in person ahead of the designated Election Day, but the absence of a national standard means that some states have few or inconsistent early voting hours which can directly impact hourly workers, parents without childcare, and the disability community.”
  • Americans should be able to cast their ballots freely and equally: “With hundreds of bills [calling for voter ID, signature verification, in-person voting, etc.] across the country that are making it harder for millions of Americans to vote, we will do whatever it takes to fight modern-day Jim Crow laws that make it harder for Black, Brown, and young people to vote.”
  • Restore voting rights for returning citizens: “Voting rights must be restored for millions of Americans barred from voting because of criminal convictions in their past and who deserve to be heard.”

WWAV’s aforementioned prescriptions for election reform generally contradict the recommendations of the landmark 2005 report by the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform, known informally as the Carter-Baker Commission, which advised all U.S. states that, in order to guarantee free and fair elections, they should: (a) increase voter ID requirements; (b) minimize the use of mail-in ballots, which “remain the largest source of potential voter fraud”; (c) disallow ballot harvesting by third parties; and (d) purge voter rolls of all ineligible or fraudulent names.

WWAV is also a committed advocate for attempted Democrat power grabs like the passage of the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (named after the late Democratic Congressman John Lewis), and the granting of statehood to Washington, D.C.  In early 2022, WWAV used its website to elaborate on each of these items as follows:

  • Passing the For the People Act: “The For the People Act will protect our freedom to vote by making sure that voting options in federal elections are equally accessible across all 50 states, make sure our voices are heard by preventing billionaires from buying our elections, and ensure we can elect leaders who govern in our interests by having congressional districts drawn to ensure fair representation for all.”[1]
  • Passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act: “The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore and strengthen our freedom to vote by, among other things, requiring federal preclearance of any changes to voting laws and procedures in certain jurisdictions with the most egregious histories of racial discrimination in voting rights, and further requiring federal preclearance of certain changes that are particularly apt to result in discrimination, irrespective of the jurisdiction, so we all have an equal say in our future.”[2]
  • Recognizing Washington, D.C. Statehood: “For more than 200 years, the residents of Washington, DC have been subjected to systemic inequality and denied the full rights of citizenship that the residents of states enjoy, including voting representation in Congress. DC residents have contributed to this nation just like residents of all other states, but do not have full voting rights in their own place of residence. And with a majority Black and Brown population, the fight for D.C. Statehood cannot be separated from the fight for racial justice. Denying equal voting rights and full representation to a city that is predominantly Black and brown only exacerbates racial inequality in this country.”[3]

In October 2018 — just weeks before that year’s midterm elections — the liberal lifestyle magazine Elle featured a fake clickbait link on Twitter, intended to promote WWAV and its agendas. The official Elle Twitter account displayed a false headline that read, “Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are splitting up” — a link that, when clicked upon, led users directly to a WWAV web page that read: “So far in the primaries, women have beat long-time incumbents and created historic races, all while redefining what it looks like to be a woman in politics…. And now you have the opportunity to vote for them, or whomever you choose, in the midterm elections. No matter your party or your state, it’s more essential than ever to make your voice heard. Take a few minutes to complete the form below, and be sure to cast your vote on Nov. 6.”

Amid the rising COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, WWAV endorsed the Democrat-led Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020, legislation designed to dramatically expanded online voter registration, mail-in voting, and early voting. Speaking in favor of the proposed bill, Michelle Obama said:

“Americans should never have to choose between making their voices heard and keeping themselves and their families safe. We know that barriers to voting existed before this [COVID] crisis, especially for young people and communities of color. Expanding access to vote-by-mail, online voter registration and early voting are critical steps for this moment— and they’re long overdue. 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.”

In May 2020, with the COVID pandemic still in high gear, WWAV and MTV co-hosted a virtual 24-hour “Prom-athon” for graduating high-school seniors. The event featured Michelle Obama publicly recognizing 20 different high schools as “Prom Challenge” winners who had succeeded in “integrating voter registration into their schools in the most creative and impactful ways.” With the November 2020 presidential election just a few months away, the Prom-athon initiative served as a vehicle by which WWAV could potentially attract many of the nation’s 4 million new graduates who would be turning 18 before Election Day. “It’s a way,” said an MTV message promoting the Prom-athon, “to tie in proms to yet another important milestone — registering to vote for the first time.”

Over the years, WWAV has partnered on various projects with such left-leaning organizations as the NAACP, Voto Latino, the National Urban League, MoveOn, the National Education Association, the National Basketball Players Association, Jack and Jill of America, the Women’s Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the XQ Institute, YMCA Youth and Government, Baller Alert, BET Networks, Blavity, ElleEssenceHollywood Life, ICM Partners, Lyft, MTV, and the historically black sororities Alpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta.

Below is a list of 4 additional, ongoing initiatives of WWAV:

  • Pledge to Be a Voter provides an online form where people can provide their contact information, so that WWAV can subsequently contact them with periodic reminders about the importance of casting their ballots in upcoming political elections.
  • Vote By Mail FAQ promotes mail-in voting as “a secure system” that is highly resistant to voter fraud and “provides you with more time and flexibility to cast your ballot.”
  • The Voting Squad Program encourages people to pledge that they will “ask 3 people [whom they know] and make sure they are ready to vote” in future elections.
  • My School Votes teaches students in grades 9-12 how to persuade their peers to become registered voters and to then cast their ballots during the election season.
  1. For details of The For The People Act and its various elements, click here.
  2. For details of The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and its various elements, click here.
  3. For an analysis of the legitimacy and implications of D.C. statehood, click here and here.

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