Meghan Markle tells women: 'If you aren't voting, you're complicit'

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·5-min read

Meghan Markle has told women if they don’t vote they are “complicit” as she warned “we all know what’s at stake this year”.

Meghan was speaking during a virtual couch party hosted by When We All Vote, a non-partisan organisation which seeks to mobilise more people to vote.

The Duchess of Sussex said that those who were “complacent” are “complicit”, as she urged people to vote in the forthcoming US election.

While the event was non-partisan, Meghan previously voiced concerns about Donald Trump before she married Prince Harry.

Royal Family members typically do not vote, and the Queen is politically neutral.

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex arrives at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, on October 01, 2019. - Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, is meeting academics and students to discuss the challenges faced by young women in accessing higher education. (Photo by Michele Spatari / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MICHELE SPATARI/AFP/Getty Images)
Meghan Markle, here in South Africa in 2019, said women who don't vote are 'complicit'. (Getty Images)

During the couch party, Meghan said: “Look, if we’re looking at what’s happening here, and the work that you’re doing in the United States with women, it is fair to say that we are all very grateful for that work because we need it now really more than ever.

“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.

“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.”

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She continued: “As we look at things today, though it had taken decades longer for women of colour to get the right to vote, even today we are watching so many women in different communities, who are marginalised, still struggling to see that right come to fruition, and that is – it’s just simply not okay.

“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.

“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.”

She also told the audience of the online event that voting is being “part of a legacy”.

ROTORUA, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 31: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visits Te Papaiouru Marae on October 31, 2018 in Rotorua, New Zealand. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on their official 16-day Autumn tour visiting cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. (Photo by Tim Rooke - Pool/Getty Images)
Meghan, in New Zealand in 2018, has spoken more openly about politics since leaving her senior role. (Getty Images)

She said: “We can make a difference in this election and we will make the difference in this election.”

Speaking about ensuring people are registered to vote, she 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.

“So thank you for being part of that legacy with us, take good care of yourselves and of each other, and I can’t wait to see what we can all accomplish together.

Meghan, 39, has spoken in recent weeks about not being able to use her voice recently, writing in Marie Claire that she knew “what it’s like to feel voiceless”.

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The couple joined from their new family home in California. (QCT)
Meghan and Harry spoke to the QCT earlier in the week, covering issues of using digital for good. (QCT)

In a virtual summit for news agency The 19th, she said: “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.”

Speaking about the changes in the US, she said she could use “my voice in a way that I haven’t been able to of late”.

Meghan’s appearance with When We All Vote, which was founded by former First Lady Michelle Obama, comes shortly after she and Harry spoke to the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT), about using digital for good.

Despite stepping back as senior royal family members in March, they retain their positions as president and vice president of the QCT.

Over a video call, they spoke to young people from Zambia, Australia and the UK about how they are trying to use digital platforms for good ends, something likely to feature as a project in Archewell, the duke and duchess’s forthcoming non-profit.

The couple have moved into their new family home, which they are believed to have a mortgage on, and are making more appearances in support of causes they care about.

They are also reported to be pitching a commercial media project as joint producers to Hollywood studios.