Oprah Winfrey on Thursday delivered a powerful message to attendees of a town hall in support of Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams: Don’t dishonor your ancestors by failing to vote in the midterm elections.
The media mogul invoked the story of Otis Moss Sr., who had walked 18 miles to vote in an election but was told he was too late to cast a ballot. He died before he was able to finally vote in the next election.
“For anybody here who has an ancestor who didn’t have the right to vote and you are choosing not to vote wherever you are in this state, in this country, you are dishonoring your family,” Winfrey said at an event in Marietta on Thursday.
“You are disrespecting and disregarding their legacy, their suffering and their dreams when you don’t vote,” she added.
Abrams had announced Wednesday that Winfrey would be joining her on the campaign trail in her highly contested race against Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R).
“I am an independent woman,” Winfrey told the crowd on Thursday. “Nobody paid for me to come here. Nobody even asked for me to come here. I paid for myself and I approve this message.”
“We are not powerless,” she added. “Every single one of us has the same power at the polls.”
Despite ongoing rumors that she herself is considering a run for president in 2020, Winfrey on Thursday denied any desire to toss her hat in the ring.
“I’m not here because I’m making some grandstand, because I’m thinking of running myself,” she said. “I don’t want to run, OK? I’m not trying to test any waters. Don’t want to go in those waters. I’m here today because of Stacey Abrams.”
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence also visited Georgia on Thursday to stump for Kemp.
“I heard Oprah was in town today,” Pence told Kemp rallygoers. “And I heard Will Ferrell was going door to door the other day. Well, I’d like to remind Stacey and Oprah and Will Ferrell: I’m kind of a big deal too.”
The story has been updated with additional comments from Winfrey.
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place