The Duchess of Sussex has encouraged women to vote in the upcoming US presidential election, telling an online event: “If you aren’t going out there and voting, then you’re complicit.”
Meghan appeared via videolink as a special guest at a virtual event held by When All Women Vote, which aims to increase participation in US elections.
Opening the event on Thursday, the duchess thanked Michelle Obama, one of the co-chairwomen of the initiative, before making a plea to female voters to make a “change” by going to the polls.
📣 We are SO excited to announce that ✨ Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex ✨ is joining the #WhenAllWomenVote Couch Party with @USOwomen, @glamourmag's @samanthabarry, @ValerieJarrett, @YNB, and @djdiamondkuts 🗳
— When We All Vote (@WhenWeAllVote) August 19, 2020
“When I think about voting and why this is so exceptionally important for all of us, I would frame it as, we vote to honour those who came before us and to protect those who will come after us,” she told the event.
“Because that’s what community is all about and that’s specifically what this election is all about.
“We’re only 75 days away from election day and that is so very close, and yet there’s so much work to be done in that amount of time, because we all know what’s at stake this year.
“I know it, I think all of you certainly know if you’re here on this fun event with us, then you’re just as mobilised and energised to see the change that we all need and deserve.”
As well as encouraging voter participation, the couch party is commemorating the centennial of the US’s 19th Amendment, which granted some women the right to vote.
Meghan said it was “simply not OK” that women in some communities are “still struggling to see that right come to fruition”.
“And we look at the attempts of voter suppression and what that’s doing, all the more reason we need each of you to be out there supporting each other to understand that this fight is worth fighting and we all have to be out there mobilising to have our voices heard,” she told the event.
“I think we are obviously faced with a lot of problems in our world right now, both in the physical world and in the digital world, but we can and must do everything we can to ensure all women have their voices heard.
“Because at this juncture, if we aren’t part of the solution, we are part of the problem.
“If you aren’t going out there and voting, then you’re complicit.
“If you are complacent, you’re complicit.”
On work being carried out as part of the virtual event, such as organisers contacting eligible voters to check they are registered, Meghan said: “I think it’s an exciting day, because it is the countdown to the change that we would all like to see for the better for our country.
“I appreciate the work you’re doing, I thank you so much, you know, in the fraught moment right now that we find our nation, exercising your right to vote isn’t simply being part of the solution, it’s being part of a legacy.”
The duchess, who did not refer to any specific candidate or political party during the virtual event, has previously suggested she will use her vote in the US election.
“I know what it’s like to have a voice, and also what it’s like to feel voiceless,” she told Marie Claire.
Members of the royal family traditionally do not vote, and the Queen is politically neutral.
Although UK law does not ban royalty from voting, it is considered unconstitutional for them to do so.
American-born Meghan quit as a senior working royal in March and now lives in the US, although she still remains a member of the royal family.
Speaking to The 19th online news site last week, Meghan encouraged Americans to register to vote and remarked about the Duke of Sussex: “My husband, for example.
“He’s never been able to vote, and I think it’s such an interesting thing to say that the right to vote is not a privilege, it’s a right in and of itself.”