In the midst of 76,128,616 (and counting) Americans celebrating President-elect Joe Biden’s and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris‘ soon-to-be transition to the White House, former First Lady Michelle Obama, co-chair of When We All Vote, joined in the collective joy, while also urging voters to stay determined and to stay vigilant because the battle for the soul of the nation is far from over.

Read Obama’s full statement below:

I’m beyond thrilled that my friend Joe Biden and our first Black and Indian-American woman Vice President, Kamala Harris, are headed to restore some dignity, competence, and heart at the White House. Our country sorely needs it.

Thank you to all of you who poured every ounce of your hope and determination into this democracy over these past four years, registering voters, getting them to the polls, keeping folks informed. More votes were cast in this election than ever before. It’s because of you. And after we celebrate — and we should all take a moment to exhale after everything we’ve been through — let’s remember that this is just a beginning. It’s a first step. Voting in one election isn’t a magic wand, and neither is winning one.

White House, vote (Obama-Harris)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – FEBRUARY 16: President Barack Obama walks with California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (not seen) after his arrival aboard Air Force One at SFO in San Francisco, Calif. on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012 to attend private fundraising events this evening. On Tuesday, August 11, 2020, Joe Biden announced he had selected Harris as his Vice-presidential running mate. (Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Let’s remember that tens of millions of people voted for the status quo, even when it meant supporting lies, hate, chaos, and division. We’ve got a lot of work to do to reach out to these folks in the years ahead and connect with them on what unites us.

But we’ve also got to recognize that the path to progress will always be uphill. We’ll always have to scrape and crawl up toward that mountaintop. And two years from now, four years from now, there will once again be no margin for error. We see now the reality that we can’t take even the tiniest part of our democracy for granted. Every single vote must count — and every single one of us must vote. And as a country, we should be making it easier, not harder to cast a ballot.

So it’s up to us to stay engaged and informed, to keep speaking out and marching on. We’ve got to vote in even greater numbers in the upcoming Senate runoffs in Georgia—and every state and local election going forward.

My warmest congratulations again to Joe and Jill, Kamala and Doug—and each of you who stepped up when your country needed you.

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