Election Day is almost here! Some people are excited about what the future holds while others are ready for advertisements and random text messages to cease. Soon enough it will all be over and we will move forward with those we have chosen to represent us.
I see voting as a civic duty. Its sharing your opinion on who you think can attack the relevant issues taking place both locally and nationally. Voting has become a mechanism for people to make change. It is where the collective voice is heard not just mine individually. Sometimes my voice will be with the majority while others it may not. Despite the outcomes it is in the act of voting that is important because it deliberately declares I have a voice and it will be counted.
How does this all relate to Christianity? Jesus wanted everyones voice to be heard. He overthrew the systems in place to turn everything upside down. He understood the discrimination and injustice and wanted to end it. Jesus healed the unclean, worked on the Sabbath, and spoke with woman and those outcast. He did this because he loved them, wanted them to be in relationship with God, and for them to have basic rights. Their voice mattered to him and he wanted the best for them. Today when so much matters on the resources available, economy, etc. voting matters. It gives people a voice and is a mechanism for change in this world. To me it seems like something Jesus would have advocated for.
Let's look closer at few things regarding voting.
Preventing individuals from voting has been happening since the beginning of the country. It was originally only white males that could vote unless you lived in New Jersey. New Jersey allowed single woman to vote up until 1807 when the state restricted their right to match the rest of the country. African Americans were unable to vote until 1870. And women who had campaigned for 70 years finally were given the right in 1920. You can read more about this in Erin Geiger Smith's new book "Thank You for Voting" which talks about the history and current dynamics of voting in America. One interesting fact is that voting is on Tuesday because of farmers schedule back in the 1700's.
Today allowing individuals to vote has become a political game. This comes with closing down polling stations so people have to stand in long line for hours at a time. Creating additional registration requirements or deadlines for people to access their right to vote. Moving polling stations outside of town so those without transportation are unable to vote. This strategy impacts the poor and impoverished by creating more difficulty for them to vote. Dodge City did this in 2018 which received national news. My point is Jesus fought for the poor and when we continue to create divisions to prevent people from acting on a constitutional right then I think we are not living up to our ideals.
Early Voting/ Mail In
Early voting or mail in ballots have been done state wide in Oregon since 1996 for all elections. They saw an increase in voting percentage meaning more people get to have a voice in what is happening. Washington moved to do this in 2011. Utah and Colorado started using mail in voting in 2013. The accessibility also saw an increase in voter percentage. In today's busy world and election day being on a working Tuesday, it only makes sense to give people additional options to fulfill their constitutional right.
For those worried about voter fraud with mail in ballots check out this New York City of Law report. You can also check out heritage.org and look at the numbers. It's not saying it doesn't happen its saying the number is so insignificant that it has no impact. Most voter fraud comes from clerical errors. Kansas, Kris Kobach only prosecuted 4 cases of voter fraud after indicating it was a major problem. Obviously we all want safe elections. We have been having elections for some time and I believe we do this well. In the middle of a pandemic we need to look at all options to keep people safe but we should be doing this anyways just to increase peoples rights.
The whole point of all this is for you to go out and vote and advocate for others to vote! If you really believe in the constitution and that everyone should have a right as equal people to have a say then get out and vote. Get your friends, neighbors, and anyone you can to fulfill their civic duty either by mail or in person.
This week advocate for others to vote!
The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Community of Christ. We believe individuals should be allowed to have their own opinions and be at different places in their faith journey.