Faith and Democracy
Faith and Democracy 2020 Campaign
For people of faith, the public arena we know as "politics" represents much more than the partisanship we see on the news. It is a means by which we live out the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves. Scripture reminds us over and over that building right relationships in human community and with God's creation is an act inseparable from our relationship with God. Therefore, it is important for faith communities to engage in nonpartisan voter education and empowerment programs that help us reflect on our collective life and work to uplift the common good through the political process.
Rock Spring is actively involved in this effort as it relates to the November 2020 election through its participation in both the United Church of Christ's Our Faith Our Vote campaign https://www.ucc.org/ourfaithourvote_be-active and the UCC's Central Atlantic Conference's Faith and Democracy 2020 campaign https://letjustice.org/initiative-faith, which is discussed in this video by Rev. Marvin Silver and Rev. Terry Yasuko Ogawa. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMTQJnwRsxk&feature=youtu.be
Three key pillars of both of these campaigns are:
- Making sure that as many people as possible are registered to vote, including all eligible members of our congregation;
- Taking actions to increase voter turnout both in Virginia and in states that have had a history of low voter turnout and voter suppression; and
- Providing information on the key issues that are at stake.
There are a number of ways that you can participate in this important effort!
Make Sure That You Are Registered and Know How to Vote
Voting is an important way to give voice to the change we want to see in the world, a world that cries out for healing. As such, it is critical to make sure that you and others are registered to vote and have the information needed to participate in the election by casting your ballot.
The UCC's Our faith Our Vote Action Center provides an easy way for you to check your voter registration, register to vote if you have not already done so, sign up for an absentee ballot, and find out where to vote on Election Day. https://p2a.co/zv3KyiE
Also, Arlington County and other local jurisdictions provide important information on such things as how to register to vote; ways to request a mail-in ballot and how to return your ballot by mail; how to track your ballot; and how to apply to become a poll worker . In Arlington, go to https://vote.arlingtonva.us/; in Alexandria https://www.alexandriava.gov/Elections; in Fairfax https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/; and in Falls Church https://www.fallschurchva.gov/135/Voter-Registration-Elections.
Please be aware of the following deadlines:
Help Get Out the Vote
An average election in the United States has around 60% of the eligible voting population turning out at the polls. There are a variety of reasons that people don’t get out and vote, but one that is particularly worrisome is the rise in efforts to suppress voter turnout through legislation and by other means. Too often, these efforts are directed at persons of color.
Rock Spring is engaging along with two of the UCC's Faith and Democracy 2020 Campaign partners, The Center For Common Ground and The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, to address this issue.
We have already begun engaging with The Center For Common Grounds' Reclaim Our Vote Campaign to increase voter turnout among persons of color in a number of states where turnout has been low, in some cases because of active voter suppression. Working with other UCC churches in the DMV we have sent 5000 postcards to voters of color in Texas (which has a history of low turnout and voter suppression) to tell them how they can vote early. The postcards that we sent were part of almost 7 million postcards that were sent out by Reclaim Our vote volunteers!
The Reclaim Our Vote postcard campaign has now ended. However, there are still a number of ways that you can volunteer.
You can participate in phone banking with Reclaim Our Vote. https://www.votinginformation.org/rovphonebankcentral
Volunteer to help fight against voter suppression with 866 Our Vote https://protectthevote.net/#volunteer
You can report any election interference problems you see at https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/6a2e4700a39d408d94f4d7bbb8e6a05a or if it is an emergency, please call 866-OUR-VOTE.
Reclaim Our Vote is also seeking people with a legal background to help with its election protection efforts https://actionnetwork.org/forms/attorney-recruitment?source=direct_link&&link_id=2&can_id=3ae53dbeddc4f9f289cff81f83ac6d06&email_referrer=email_955236&email_subject=seeking-volunteer-legal-professionals-to-help-with-election-protection
Also, you can volunteer with Spread the Vote to help provide some comfort (e.g., water, snacks, a voter guide, maybe a folding chair) to people who need to stand in line to vote. Find out more about the Comfort At the Polls effort here. Spread the Vote needs help in Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax every day between now and Election Day. They provide everything you need. To volunteer, contact Kat Calvin at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up with Spread the Vote directly: https://bit.ly/comfortvol.
Learn About the Issues
The UCC's Our Faith Our Vote website provides 1-page summaries and videos that outline the UCC's position on a number of the key issues that are being debated in the 2020 Election: https://www.ucc.org/ourfaithourvote_issue_education_2020
The UCC Central Atlantic Conference's Faith and Democracy 2020 campaign has also prepared a series of videos by local pastors on key election issues including one on environmental justice by Rock Spring Associate Pastor, Rev. Laura Martin: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFBAEQRtyNCbKxYHH2DMvpweBHPvWT7ef
Last, the UCC has put together a series of webinars , many of which discuss Election-related issues including voter registration, education, and mobilization: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6VgfHt6zEy7yDgdSE-fLLYEVaNBM2943