Sep. 9, 2020.
By Lay Minister for Social Justice Karen Wolf.
No one wants to wake up on Nov. 4 wishing they had done more to protect our democracy. Democracy is a core principle of Unitarian Universalism. Marginalized people have fought and died for the right to have their voices heard.
Even though I’m deeply embedded in social justice work, and I always vote, electoral politics aren’t usually something I feel passionate about. But universal suffrage (the right of everyone to vote) feels foundational to me. I don’t have to be excited about a candidate to feel strongly that everyone deserves a voice. It’s clear to me that if everyone in this country voted, the outcomes of our elections would be wildly different, affecting the legislation that was passed, the policies that structure our society and the workings of all political parties. Our votes matter.
According to the Washington Post, about 43% of eligible voters didn’t vote in 2016. Some of that is due to voter suppression tactics, like photo ID requirements. Others simply chose not to vote. Gerrymandering has also disenfranchised many, along with a lack of candidate options. This year, we face the additional challenge of COVID-19, which may keep people from the polls on Nov. 3. Meanwhile, we also have complications in logistics – policies around early voting and absentee voting vary by state and face challenges at the federal level, including slowdowns of the U.S. Postal Service and President Trump’s recent suggestion to his supporters that they vote twice. It’s enough to leave anyone confused and stressed about the process.
UU the Vote is a national campaign that calls us all to bring UU values to the voting booth. Whether that means voting to protect the climate or empowering newly naturalized or recently incarcerated citizens to participate in the election, there are dozens of ways to promote UU values in the coming election. Thus far, the UU the Vote group at UUCF has:
Written 2,000+ letters to under-represented voters all over the U.S.
Written 1,500 postcards to voters purged from voter rosters in Texas and North Carolina.
Hosted four, fun, online letter-writing parties.
Raised donations and received a grant to pay for postage and postcards.
Supported the U.S. Postal Service by buying lots of stamps!
But we want to do more, and we need YOU. In the last 60 days before the November election, many of us are feeling called to put in an extra effort. Whether it’s calling, texting, sending postcards or volunteering to be an election officer, there are so many ways you can make a difference and feel empowered. Please fill out this form, and UUCF’s Social Justice Coordinator Andrew Batcher, will follow up and connect you with meaningful volunteer options.
In the coming weeks, UU the Vote volunteers from UUCF will be sharing our experiences and the reasons why getting the vote out is important to us. We ask everyone in the congregation to consider how you can contribute to this congregation-wide effort.