As people of faith, we are called to love and serve all people, not judge them. One of the ways we turn our values into action is through VOTING. We work to evaluate each candidate and policy through a social justice lens.
Check out the LAST section of this page for ideas for how a religious, moral, spiritual person might make elections special. But first, here are some basics on VOTING. THERE ARE THREE CHOICES FOR HOW TO CAST YOUR BALLOT:
1. ABSENTEE BALLOT
If you go with this option, you must have already sent it into the Secretary of State office, with a November 5 postmark, for it to be valid. If you delayed, YOU CAN STILL VOTE! Go to your polling location on Nov 6, Election Day, and fill out a provisional ballot. If (when) the election is close, they will count your ballot.
2. VOTE EARLY
Polls are open for several weeks before the election (weekdays), and for the single weekend before the election! In Franklin County, 30% more voters turned out in 2012 for early voting than turned out in the prior presidential election (2008).
3. VOTE ON ELECTION DAY
You must vote at the location where you were directed to go when you registered (your precinct). If you pledge to vote, and note that you want to be reminded, we will email you to remind you to GET OUT AND VOTE!
In any case, Voter identification rules have not changed since 2008; the Secretary of State has outlined the valid ways you can identify yourself.
For polling information, changes to voting law, and other assistance, contact Election Protection, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)
You are qualified to register to vote in Ohio if you meet all the following requirements:
- You are a citizen of the United States;
- You will be at least 18 years old on or before the day of the next general election. (If you will be 18 on or before November 8, you may vote in the primary election to nominate candidates, but you cannot vote on issues or party central committees until you are 18);
- You will be a resident of Ohio for at least 30 days immediately before the election in which you want to vote;
- You are not incarcerated (in prison or jail) for a felony conviction under the laws of this state, another state, or the United States;
- You have not been declared incompetent for voting purposes by a probate court; and
- You have not been permanently disenfranchised for violating the election laws.
- You are eligible to vote in elections held in your voting precinct 30 days after you are duly registered to vote in this state. You may request an absentee ballot during that 30 day period.
For College Students, this 3-step check-list from the League of Women Voters will help you walk through your options, and clarifies that your Student Id is NOT enough identification at the polls.
For detailed law and regulations about voting, see the Secretary of State’s website on Elections and Voting.
You can be a voter advocate by exercising your right to vote. Ohio RCRC has teamed up with Rock the Vote to ensure that our community has the opportunity to register or re-register (if you’ve moved) quickly, easily and securely. Send this link to anyone you think might not be registered to vote and talk about the value of voting with those in your life who may not be planning to vote.
Your Voice, Your Vote!
To make elections even more meaningful as a religious, spiritual, moral person, check out these ideas:
Of course you know that your votes are important in elections, of course you know you are a swing state voter, and of course you know that women’s reproductive freedoms are at stake in the state and nationwide elections. You can still make it even more meaningful. You can help get Souls to the Polls. You can be a Peacemaker. We can change the world, and we can do it one person at a time, if we do it in love.
MAKE IT SOCIAL. For students, do you have wheels and could offer to give a ride to a friend or two and then get something to eat afterwards? Or, are you LACKING wheels, but could you ask a friend or two to get there together? We’re in this together, you know. Could facebook help?
MAKE IT INTER-GENERATIONAL. Is there a young person in your life that is too young to vote? Could you take them with you when you vote, or include them when you fill out your absentee ballot? You can get them more comfortable with the voting process, and you’ll start a new voter on the right foot!
HELP OTHERS. Is there a person in your life who might find it difficult to get to the polls due to age or disability or inertia? Can you reach out them to help them feel for comfortable by helping them get to early voting or get to the polls (see above)? Can you be gentle with them?
MAKE IT A TEACHING MOMENT. Having trouble relating politics to your faith life when the whole scene is so nasty? You can actually make this into a “teaching moment” for your kids or grandkids or neice/nephew/cousin by pointing out how your voting is influenced by your faith life. For example: “As people of faith, we are called to love and serve all people, not judge them. One of the ways we turn our values into action is through VOTING. We work to evaluate each candidate and policy through a social justice lens. Then, point out how specific policies are more fair or just or help build stronger families or help provide equal opportunities previously denied to the disadvantaged more than others, and this is why you are voting for the candidate or party that backs that policy.
BE A PEACEMAKER. Are you finding yourself in nasty discussions with people who will vote differently than you will? Check out this article from a Christian clergy-person regarding a more peaceful way to live out our values in our polarized climate without compromising on our theology or our political stand.
BE A TEACHER. If you do #1, #2, #3, #4, or #5, it might open the door to answering a question about why it’s important to vote. There are no dumb questions when it comes to voting.
For example, this political cartoon illustrates the importance of the “swing” states (including Ohio) because of impact of the electoral college system.
MAKE POST-ELECTION PLAN. The candidates and issues you are fighting for may or may not be successful in this election. How will you behave as a winner or a loser? Will you give up? Will you gloat? Will you do the right thing?
At Ohio RCRC, we plan to do the right thing, which is to continue working as hard as (or harder than) ever at our mission, which includes education, counseling, and advocacy, in partnership with all of you, for reproductive justice!
After election day, we’ll be working hard to stay on top of policies that strengthen ALL families. This could mean testifying at the State House, writing letters to the editor, and sending e-mails to elected officials.
We respect and support women and families. We believe there is much more we can do as a society to support women and their families. We should work to strengthen economic policies so that a woman who wants to continue her pregnancy will be able to raise her child with dignity. This is not just compassionate—it’s smart policy. If someone is struggling just to get by, get a better job, or take care of the children she already has, we need to ask ourselves what policies will help her do what she needs to do for herself and her family. Here’s what doesn’t help: blocking access to abortion care and forcing a woman to continue a pregnancy she feels unable to handle, or making contraception expensive and hard to get so that a woman has a hard time stopping an unplanned pregnancy.
When we see areas where our government is not adequately serving the families in our community, we must speak out. We are our brothers’ and our sisters’ keeper. We are called. And we must answer.