Compassionate Voter Campaign Organizing Guide
This upcoming election may be one of the most important of our lifetimes. As communities of faith and spirit, we know the importance of being in right relationship with each other and the earth. All of our faith traditions and spiritualities have teachings about the need to care for our neighbors, and care for the sacred planet we share.
We need people of faith to witness, lift up, and protect the perspectives of those who are impacted and unheard. Voting is one important way to do that. We know that people who have historically been kept from voting in the US are also more likely to experience climate change and environmental injustice. That’s why GreenFaith is running a compassionate voter campaign to lessen voter suppression in the upcoming election and get as many people as possible to vote compassionately. We will partner with thousands of people of faith and spirit to stir up a compassionate awakening and galvanize compassionate votes in the upcoming US election.
Unless we prioritize protecting the planet and the needs of those harmed by climate injustice, there will be impacts across the world for generations to come. It’s more important than ever that we vote compassionately, and that we encourage and support others to do the same.
What is the GreenFaith Compassionate Voter Campaign?
In 2020, GreenFaith is running a nonpartisan Compassionate Voting Campaign to ensure that everyone in our community is registered to vote, and can cast their ballots in the safest way possible this election year. We will get as many people as possible to sign a compassionate voter pledge, have conversations with friends and family, and then register and get out the vote in our faith communities.
In addition to getting the vote out, we will be training clergy and lay leaders to become Moral Observers to document and report on instances of voter suppression. Moral observers will be trained on how to identify voter suppression, how to document it, and how to report it on social media, in traditional media, and to voter protection lawyers. We will also be asking clergy, religious leaders, and people of faith to show up to observe and document on election day.
How can I get involved?
Sign the voter pledge!
It’s important that people of faith and spirit who care about our neighbors, communities, and shared earth commit to voting compassionately in this election. http://bit.ly/GFVoterPledge
Share the voter pledge with your friends!
Research shows that people are more likely to do something if they’ve made the commitment. Getting your friends and family to sign the compassionate voter pledge will get them thinking about how they can be voting compassionately, and starting to think about how they will make a plan to vote.
Send this announcement to your congregation, faith, or spiritual community:
Led by the Spirit to care for all creation, GreenFaith is running a Compassionate Voter Campaign to get as many people of faith voting compassionately in the upcoming election. We will make the ties between voter suppression, climate change, and the moral responsibility to uphold our democracy. We will train religious leaders to be moral observers in the upcoming election and sign up people of faith to be voter captains. Sign the Compassionate Voter Pledge here and learn more about getting involved here.
Sign up to be a voter captain:
In order to get as many people to vote as possible, we will be reaching out and having conversations with at least 10 friends to make sure that they are registered to vote and have a plan to vote compassionately in the 2020 election. We will be following up with them to give them resources about voter registration deadlines, remind them to request their absentee or vote by mail ballots, and remind them when and where to vote. See below for a step by step description of the role. See more info below.
Sign up to be a moral observer:
Faith leaders serve as thought leaders and hold a moral high ground across the United States and world. We are trusted leaders, and it is our job to make sure that our democracy is preserved and that everyone who wants to cast a vote and is eligible is able to do so. Moral observers will be trained to identify acts of voter suppression, document them, and report on them on social media, to the press, and to legal supporters. We believe that having clergy and religious leaders identified and bearing witness at the polls and leading up to the election will lessen instances of voter suppression that are being predicted across the country. See below for a step by step description of the role.
Sign the 2020 Compassionate Voter Pledge
As people of faith, we believe that a compassionate vote – one informed by our morals and values – puts us in right relationship with others, the earth, and the divine. We believe that a compassionate vote builds enough power to transform culture and influence decision makers here at home and around the world. And we believe that a compassionate vote is what we need right now.
As a Compassionate Voter, I pledge to:
- Foster a compassionate, loving, and just world.
- Safeguard voting rights for those who have them, and win them for those who don’t.
- Listen, learn, and seek the truth for myself and for others.
- Protect the planet and prioritize the needs of those harmed by climate injustice.
- Show up and let my voice be heard.
- Encourage others to vote righteously and compassionately in 2020.
- I Pledge to Vote Compassionately in 2020!
- You can share the Compassionate Voter Pledge with your community using this link: http://bit.ly/GFVoterPledge
Compassionate Voter Captains
Power is built when we bring people together in conversation, community, and action. We know that people are more likely to register and cast their ballots if they are engaged by people they know and trust about voting. It’s about relationships. If we want people to vote compassionately this election, we need hundreds of voter captains across the country who are taking responsibility for talking to their friends, and having conversations that help people understand the links between climate injustice and voter suppression and the need to vote. Taking on this responsibility will ensure that you are doing your part to influence this upcoming election. It will be fun, easy, and GreenFaith will support you the whole way. In this upcoming election our Compassionate Voter Captains will take the following steps:
Step 1: Have a conversation: Have a conversation with 10 friends about the importance of the upcoming election and the connection between climate change, voter suppression, and the need of faith communities to be involved. We are building relationships, which is foundational to every part of organizing our communities. See below for a conversation guide to help you with those conversations.
Step 2: Get your people to register and/or request a mail-in-ballot:
Make sure that all of those 10 people are registered to vote. They can check whether they’re registered here.
If they are not already in a state that’s sending people automatic vote by mail ballots, encourage them to request a vote by mail ballot. They can also do that here.
And, they can
Step 3: Get out the vote! Once they receive their ballot, make sure they have a plan to send it in or deliver it. If they are planning to vote in person, make sure they know where they’ll be going, when they’ll be going, and that they’re prepared to spend a while casting their ballots since we know there may be long lines. Research shows that people are much more likely to cast their ballots when they have a plan and know where and when they’re going to vote.
Step 4: Recruit more people to become voter captains or moral observers! The more people who are involved in the compassionate voter program, the bigger impact we can have. If your friends want to help out, tell them to sign up as a voter captain or a moral observer.
If you’re ready to sign up as a Compassionate Voter Captain, sign up for the training call HERE.
Voter Suppression and intimidation comes in many forms and compromises the fundamentals of a democratic election. Moral Observers will support safeguarding voting rights for those who have them and fight for those who don’t. Moral observers are clergy, religious leaders, and people of faith who will be trained to identify and report on instances of voter suppression in their communities. As religious and faith leaders, this is one of the best ways we can be providing leadership to our communities and making sure that people do not commit acts of discrimination or suppression. As a moral observer, you will commit to at least 2 of the following:
Attend the moral observer training calls: The moral observer training will be two 1.5 hour long trainings in September. We will also have a make-up training for people who are unable to make one or both of the training times. In these trainings, we’ll teach you how to identify instances of voter suppression, and make sure that you’re following all the laws to complete the role of a moral observer. You can register for those here.
Submit a letter to the editor of your local paper: Submit a letter to the editor to a local paper in your town. Make the links between voter suppression, climate change, and voting compassionately. Let your community know that you will be watching and reporting on any acts of voter suppression. We will provide you with a sample Letter to the Editor that you can personalize and make your own.
Give a sermon or talk in your congregation or spiritual community. Give a sermon about the links between voter suppression, climate injustice, and why we all need to vote! Ask people to sign the compassionate voter pledge. We will provide you with sample language for a sermon.
Document acts of voter suppression: For each instance of voter suppression that someone reports to you, you will be asked to do the following:
- Report them on social media. Make a social media post that includes the following: a photo of the person who reported the issue; what happened to them; include the hashtags: #moralobserver #compassionatevotes #election2020 #GreenFaith
- Help the person who came to you to report to the Voter Protection hotline by calling: 1-866-687-8683 and get their contact info.
- Report to GreenFaith by emailing email@example.com. We will be compiling responses and pitching stories to traditional media.
- Be ready to talk to the press. When GreenFaith pitches these stories to the press, we will need moral observers to be ready to talk to the press about this. Remember to take down the name and phone number of the person who reported in case they want to talk to the press.
Observe the polls on election day: Choose a polling location (or 2) and spend a few hours on election day monitoring that location and talking to people as they come out of the polls to make sure nothing happened to them. You will need to stand away from the entrance and will wear a hat that says moral observer and a sign that says- “if you had trouble voting, talk to me”.
For more information on knowing your voting rights, you can go to: https://www.vote.org/election-protection/
Are there other ways for me to get involved?
Yes! We will periodically be sending other updates with resources on voting, and getting out the vote. We will also be organizing some GreenFaith events to support textbanking and phonebanking to voters who are concerned about climate change. Sign the voter pledge and keep a lookout for those opportunities.
Upcoming Dates and Trainings
- Voter Captain Calls (you can attend one or the other)
- Sept. 9, 5:30-7pm ET. Register here.
- Sept. 16, 5:30-7pm ET. Register here.
- Moral Observer Calls (we recommend you attend both)
- Sept 23rd and Sept 30th at Register here.
- Spanish speaking training schedule coming soon!
- Sept 22: Voter Registration Day
- Keep your eyes out for more voter registration trainings
- Nov 3- ELECTION DAY
- Nov 11- Voter Campaign Celebration and Debrief
Check your registration status, register, and request an absentee ballot
Compassionate Voter Captain Conversation Conversation Guide:
Initial Talking Points for your conversations as organizers/voter captains: (remember we are engaging in a relational conversation that builds rapport and elicits their concerns and hopes for our collective future)
- Vote Compassionately: Caring for one another and for the planet is central to our collective faith traditions and our beliefs. Therefore, voting compassionately–with those values in mind–is critical to living out our faith and protecting our future. (possible next step: Sign our compassionate voter pledge)
- Tie it to the larger world — Concerns about racism, and COVID-19 are part of this effort because so many of the people who are struggling with these issues are among those who are being affected most immediately and deeply by climate change. Also, reopening the economy is critical and so we must develop our economy in a way that will protect people and the planet.
- Voter Suppression Awareness: Unfortunately, there are multiple ways voting has been made difficult and politicized. In many states voter rolls have been purged of voters who have not voted recently and many states/districts have been subject to gerrymandering. Likewise, polling places have been closed or the hours have been cut back. Finally, absentee voting can be arduous with multiple steps and deadlines. Being aware of these difficulties is the first step to helping others access their right to vote. As people of faith, we can raise awareness and our voice to challenge voter suppression. (Possible next step: Become a moral observer)
- Voting matters — First, be sure we are voting! Next, encourage our loved ones (children and grandchildren, neighbors, friends, congregants) to vote by introducing them to the voter.org link. (Possible next step: Become a voter captain)
- Thank you: Remember to thank them for the opportunity to to have this conversation and outline your next steps.
Other possible talking points:
- Leadership development — communities of faith have the ability and the potential to raise up leaders. We need to be fostering moral leadership (particularly about the climate) in our faith communities.
- Signing the pledge matters — people of faith are huge in number. Getting people to sign the pledge is a first step to building a larger community of faith for climate voters that we will continue to develop long after this particular election.
Sample Letter to the Editor Coming Soon
Sample Sermon Language for Moral Observers Coming Soon