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It takes deep faith and a lot of hard work to keep a democracy vibrant. Our Unitarian Universalist (UU) fifth principle commitment to the democratic process and our anti-oppression commitment to strengthen the voices of historically marginalized groups call us to make sure our elections are as inclusive as possible. I applaud and support our congregations’ efforts to register voters and to ensure that the polling process is free of discrimination. If we all join in this vital effort, on November 5 we can say we did all we could to strengthen our democracy.
—Rev. William G. Sinkford, UUA President 2001-2009
One of the fundamental principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA) is the use of the democratic process. As an expression of our faith, many Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations engage in voter registration and protecting voting rights, not for partisan reasons, but to empower every eligible person to contribute her or his own voice to the democratic process.
Defending the freedom to vote has been central to the work of the UUA and at the core of Unitarian Universalism for years—from expanding enfranchisement for women and African Americans to advocating for a path to citizenship for immigrants, a proud history of civil rights engagement to taking on the New Jim Crow today. As a faith community UUs are vocal and active about voting rights and have made real change happen throughout history.
On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-to-4 vote, freeing nine states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval.
This was a huge blow to democracy. People of color, students, people with disabilities, low-income people, immigrants, people with felony convictions, transgender people, people who are homeless, and many others face significant obstacles today in registering to vote and casting ballots.
Over the last few years in 18 states across the country, efforts to suppress the vote have been enacted from passing restrictive voter ID laws and requirements of proof of citizenship, to abolishment of same day voting and early voting, adoption of stringent rules and heavy penalties regarding voter registration drives, and the disfranchisement of formerly incarcerated people. Now is the time to mobilize to defend the freedom to vote.
UU congregations and organizations are working with partners to protect the vote, register people to vote, and get out the vote!
NAACP, This Is My Vote
ACLU, Let People Vote
Brennan Center for Justice
UU State Advocacy Networks
Congregation-Based Community Organizations
$$: The UU Funding Panel has rolling grants of up to $500 available for UU congregations participating in voter projects.
Move to Amend: The Unitarian Universalist Association objects to the the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United, and has endorsed the move to amend the Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights. See Actions of Immediate Witness: Oppose Citizens United--Support Free Speech for People (2011) and Amend the Constitution: Corporations are not Person and Money is Not Speech (2013).
We know that too often people are excluded from this sacred process due to economic and racial bias. Ironically, the right to legislative representation is denied to the residents of the U.S. capitol, Washington, DC. The UUA works to make sure that those who are eligible to vote can do so, and to extend right to vote to the citizens of the nation's capitol.
We invite you to learn more about Unitarian Universalism and our commitment to voting rights as an issue of economic and racial justice.
For more information contact socialjustice @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Monday, July 14, 2014.
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