Unitarian Universalists and Elections
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is proud to be a part of the national interfaith coalition, Faithful Democracy. Founded in part by the UUA in 2004 to increase civic participation, Faithful Democracy has a strong web presence, valuable resources, and a commitment to turning out the vote.
"There is work to be done. I'm not talking about simply affirming the importance of voting, nor of simply promising to vote ourselves. I'm talking about mobilizing to get out there and work to prevent the travesties of recent elections from recurring. We want to see this nation's promise of democracy restored, and to do what we can to ensure that everyone's vote gets counted."
- Rev. William G. Sinkford, UUA President
In 2004, hundreds of Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations participated in voter registration and Get-Out-The-Vote activities. Youth groups registered classmates at high schools and did outreach at local malls. Small and large congregations alike held community forums and partnered with community organizations to educate and mobilize voters. Congregations even rented buses to transport voters to the polls.
This work led to lasting partnerships between many Unitarian Universalist congregations and the community groups. It raised the profile and increased the relevance of Unitarian Universalism.
The 2008 election provided a tremendous opportunity to engage and inspire people. Record numbers of voters participated. Let's build on that momentum so even more people can - and do! - participate in our nation's democratic process! We can demonstrate our commitment to democracy and justice by helping to bring more diverse voices into the public arena and shape the debate on key issues.
Religious individuals and groups play a prophetic role in public life by calling attention to oppression, demanding change, and holding leaders and institutions accountable for their actions and policies. Congregations and people of faith can also help counter cynicism and distrust of the electoral process. The Constitutional separation of religion and state (and related Internal Revenue Service regulations) protects the integrity of religious and political institutions. While religious organizations must remain strictly nonpartisan, there are many activities that any religious group can do without jeopardizing its nonprofit tax-exempt status. Unitarian Universalist congregations and campus groups can legally register, educate, and mobilize voters for elections.
- Faithful Democracy Election Resource for UUs (PDF, 12 pages)
- The Real Rules: Congregations and the IRS Guidelines On Advocacy, Lobbying, and Elections
Remember: Registering people to vote lets people know that they matter to us. This is an act of faith.