Former first lady Michelle Obama on Sunday delivered a message to potential voters in the midterm elections, telling them “democracy continues with or without you.”
Obama was speaking in Las Vegas at an event for When We All Vote, a nonpartisan organization committed to voter registration that she co-chairs. While the former first lady’s group aims to increase participation regardless of party affiliation, Democrats have sought to rally turnout ahead of an election that is largely a referendum on the Trump presidency, which has made undoing former President Barack Obama’s legacy a central focus.
Obama told attendees that she is “sick of all the chaos and the nastiness of our politics,” but that the importance of voting still remains.
“But here’s the problem, while some folks are frustrated and tuned out and stay at home on election day, trust me, other folks are showing up,” Obama said. “Democracy continues with or without you.”
The event was the first of two events that the former first lady plans to attend this month to rally voters. CNN first reported on her involvement in the organization earlier this month.
Obama and her husband have largely avoided criticizing the Trump administration in public, though the former president offered a pointed critique of his successor earlier this month, saying President Donald Trump is “capitalizing on resentment that politicians have been fanning for years.”
While stressing the importance of voting to attendees, Michelle Obama said Sunday that the way to get “qualified people” into office was to vote.
“You know, we saw that happen. We experienced that we had a great president, but every couple years folks sat out and said ‘well, I did my part, I voted once, I’m done, I’m out,’” she said. “And I’m just telling you that democracy doesn’t work that way.”
“As I said earlier, democracy doesn’t wait for you to be bothered. It moves on as it rightly should and therefore the people who vote determine the direction of the country, determine the mood, the tone, and the people who stay out don’t get a say,” Obama said. “And I want every American to feel the power of that choice.”
Obama plans to visit Florida later this week for another When We All Vote event.
CORRECTION: This story and headline have been updated to reflect that When We All Vote is a nonpartisan organization.
CNN’s Marita Vlachou and Eli Watkins contributed to this report.