LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Former First Lady Michelle Obama is hitting the road ahead of the midterm elections. But it’s not to campaign for any candidates.
Instead, she is hosting "When We All Vote" rallies across the country to encourage higher voter registration and turnout.
“You’re letting other people make some key decisions about the life you’re going to live,” Obama said to a crowd of thousands at Chaparral High School. “Not voting is like letting your grandma pick your clothes out.”
“Please get registered, please. I’ll say it again, please. I don’t care who you vote for,” the former First Lady said.
A cast of celebrities and first-time voters joined her in that plea.
“If you’re unhappy, if you’re frustrated, if you’re bummed out by what’s been going on – or if you love it – you’ve got to get out there and let people know,” actress Kelly McCreary said.
“Turn your anger, turn your passion, turn your hope into action,” actor and comedian Keegan-Michael Key said.
That is what UNLV student Aaron Ibarra is trying to do. The political science major is passionate about getting people to register.
“I make sure all my friends are registered voters,” he said. “But if I ever come upon someone who is not registered, I always have registrations on me. I always try to get them motivated.
Obama said only half of registered voters went to the polls for the presidential election. She added that percentage is even lower for midterms.
“We’re on a mission to change the culture of voting,” Key said. “This is something we should be doing as much as we breathe.”
That’s why the speakers hope the rally will cause a ripple effect with people going home and convincing a friend or family member to sign up.
“Las Vegas was electric. I felt like all of the lights and electricity were in this high school auditorium and not on the Strip,” Key said. “It was quite amazing. And it just feels like there are a lot of people here in Nevada who are really, really fired up.
“Take this energy and run with it,” Obama said. “There is a limited time.”
Early voting starts on October 20. Election Day is November 6.
Obama said these rallies are non-partisan and do not endorse any candidate or party. But the Nevada Republican Committee sent FOX5 a statement in response to the event:
“Our ground game in Nevada is unrivaled because it’s more than just a field operation – it’s a movement. We’ve already made unprecedented progress and we’re well on our way to defying history in the midterms. Republicans already have the edge in Nevada. Now we’re kicking into overdrive.”