Central East Region: Better Together
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Election Work in Our Congregations

Each year as we gear up for election time, we find it necessary to remind our congregations of the rules that govern religious organizations in relationship to politics. Violation of these rules could result in the IRS suspending your non-profit status. While this year's local elections are just around the corner, we are starting the long run to the 2020 presidential election and many of our congregations will be active in election issues for the next 13 months.

In general, you need to observe these basic rules:

  • We may not advocate for or against specific candidates.
  • We can advocate and educate on specific issues.
  • We can hold voter registration drives and work in those efforts.
  • We can work in voter turnout efforts.

A full accounting of the laws and how they apply to congregations can be found in the UUA publication, The Real Rules, which can be found on the UUA website. Your CER staff strongly recommend that your leadership review this document before agreeing to participate in any election activities.

If you are looking forward to the 2020 election, here is an opportunity for you! Attend the End Bail Now webinar on  October 23, 2019 at 8 pm ET. Join Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU) and Love Resists for a one-hour webinar to kickoff our 2020 campaign of community teams focused on ending money bail. The goal of this call is to organize our congregations and communities to participate in the 2020 Black Mama’s Bail Out across the country in April and May as well as engaging in local bail reform efforts.

Bail keeps people in jail for weeks, months and even years - away from their families, friends and communities - before they even see a judge. Bail traps people in debt, can mean a loss of custody of children, stable housing, employment and more. The money bail system is based upon dangerous, unfair and false presumptions about Black folks, People of Color and poor people who have been accused of breaking laws and serves only to criminalize the poor and decimate families and communities.

Learn more about the webinar and register.

front page of Real Rules doc

The Real Rules

By Rob Keithan

Congregations and the IRS Guidelines On Advocacy, Lobbying, and Elections Download the PDF (21 pages) Religious individuals and groups have played a prophetic role in public life throughout history by calling attention to oppression, demanding change, and holding leaders and institutions accounta...

The Real Rules