FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 23, 2018
CONTACT: Erin Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Faith Votes’ organizers pledge to hold one million conversations with voters nationwide ahead of the midterm elections
WASHINGTON — As part of a commitment to contact one million voters before the midterm elections, Faith in Action (formerly PICO National Network) today announced a comprehensive voter engagement campaign, ‘Faith Votes.’ Clergy with the national network of 39 groups in 22 states and 150 cities, discussed their intention to conduct live, person-to-person voter engagement, support key ballot measures in Ohio, Florida, Texas, and facilitate outreach in congregations.
“Through Faith Votes, we aren’t just interested in voter engagement, we’re interested in building leaders,” said the Rev. Alvin Herring, executive director, Faith in Action. “Rather than focusing exclusively on the need to vote, we will engage voters, many whom are people of color, around issues that impact them the most such as voting rights, sentencing reform, livable wages, family leave, public education, and access to affordable healthcare.”
“We are excited to embrace a voting program this year that invests in our communities – particularly communities of color,” said Megan Black, national clergy organizer, Faith in Action. “We’re engaging clergy and congregations representing a wide range of religious traditions in our relational organizing voting program this year, with an emphasis on building sustainable relationships between the local organization, congregations, and the wider community that have traction even beyond the election cycle and prioritize the needs and contributions of communities of color.”
In addition to working in states across the country to encourage voting, Faith in Action is also partnering with local groups to protect access to the ballot.
“It was never our intention to create registrants; we want to create voters,” said Nse Ufot, executive director of the New Georgia Project. “We are organizing heavily in the south to ensure that African Americans can cast ballots. We are seeing sheriffs deployed to homes to verify addresses and if the sheriff doesn’t get answers he or she deems appropriate, voters are being kicked off the rolls. When we see these attacks, we have one option and that is to go into organizing mode.”
“As a result of the work that clergy and people of faith are doing, people of color will be able to show up at the polls and cast a ballot. Their engagement will make the difference in their communities today and well into the future,” said the Rev. Cassandra Gould, executive director of Missouri Faith Voices. “We are talking to people whom political parties have ignored. We want people to know that their vote, and their lives matter.”
The Faith Votes team will provide webinars and a toolkit for their organizers across the network that includes phone bank tally sheets and scripts, canvassing scripts, signs and volunteer tracking sheets. The effort will also include a data toolkit that outlines data collection best practices and training.
Faith in Action’s congregations will work to deepen their relationships between their membership and the community, while building power within both the congregation and the community around their campaigns like LIVE FREE that works to end mass incarceration and gun violence in urban communities and LA RED which focuses on immigrant justice.
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Faith in Action, formerly known as PICO National Network, is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. The nonpartisan organization works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 45 local and state federations. For more information visit www.faithinaction.org.