Written by Jessie Palatucci
In 2008, six million Americans didn’t vote because they missed a registration deadline or didn’t know how to register. Six-million. Literally millions of people – individuals who have the right to have their voices heard and whose unique experiences we need reflected in our democracy - found they were without a voice at the polls because they didn’t know the rules of the game.
This is unacceptable. According to data from the U.S. Census, Americans have some of the lowest voter turnout in the developed world. There are more than 240 million people of voting age in the U.S. Only 53 percent of them cast a ballot in the 2012 elections.
Some of these folks chose not to vote, but many, many of the people in our communities wanted to vote and simply did not know how.
It will take a lot of time and work to address some of the larger, systemic problems inherent in our democracy. But here’s something we can do – we can make sure that every member of our congregation is registered and ready to vote this November.
Will you join UCC members across the nation in observing National Voter Registration Day on September 27th?
Still not convinced that your voice, and the voices of those in your community are vitally important in our democracy? Hear from some of the leaders in our denomination and find out why they think your vote matters -
1. Rev. James Moos – Voting is what love looks like.
Rev. James Moos describes voting as a spiritual discipline. It is a way to fulfill the Biblical commandment to love our neighbors. But who is our neighbor? Is it the low-wage worker in our community? Is it a child down the street attending a sub-standard public school? Are they the 65 million refugees displaced across the world?
Decisions that we make on Election Day will impact their lives.
2. Rev. John Dorhauer – Lessons learned from 2000? Every. Vote. Counts.
Rev. John Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, reflects on the how watching the 2000 elections unfold with his sons helped him to appreciate the value of each and every vote.
3. Rev. Melody Seaton - Do you know the significance of the numbers 13, 14 & 15?
We have an opportunity to remind the people in our pews and in our community that their voices matter. We have an obligation to remind each other that when we vote, we do not simply vote to advance one team or another. We are not voting to “win.” We are voting to elect leaders and to pass ballot initiatives that will shape our lives together. We are voting to uplift the common good and to better the lives of our neighbors here and around the world.
In the words of Rev. Traci Blackmon, “For people of faith, the public arena we know as “politics” represents much more than the partisan politicking we see on the news. It is a means by which we live out the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves”
This fall, let’s make sure that our communities are registered, ready and empowered to vote. Learn more via the UCC Our Faith Our Vote campaign.