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Recent General Convention resolutions on voting rights
Support Voting Reforms that Achieve “One Person, One Vote”

Concurred as Amended

Final Text:
Resolved, That the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church authorize Executive Council to create a working group to study, define, and propose reforms by which civil government at all levels (local, state, and federal) may move closer toward making a reality of the principle of one person, one vote; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention budget allocate $35,000 (salary and benefits) for 1/4 FTE staff person at the Office of Government Relations of The Episcopal Church to track federal legislative proposals for the creation and operation of the One Person, One Vote working group, and to provide timely action alerts to bishops, dioceses, and Episcopal Public Policy Network subscribers.

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Call on Governments to Cease Voter Suppression and Increase Voter Participation

Concurred as Substituted

Final Text:
Resolved, That this 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church hereby calls on all states to cease and desist efforts to suppress the voting rights of American Citizens; and be it further

Resolved, That The Episcopal Church calls on governments on all levels to create policies to enhance voter participation by, among other strategies, seeking to implement policies that will increase early voting, extend registration periods, guarantee an adequate number of voting locations, allow absentee balloting without the necessity of having an excuse, and prohibit forms of identification that restrict voter participation; and be it further

Resolved, That in accordance with Executive Council Resolution AN033 adopted October 25, 2017, the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church reaffirms that one person one vote means that the votes of all citizens of all races and ethnicities are fairly represented, counted and accounted for; that we oppose any form of partisan gerrymandering which has the same effect of racial gerrymandering; and be it further

Resolved, That the 79th General Convention call upon the National Conference of State Legislators to address gerrymandering as a major focus in developing a fair, not gerrymandered electoral process.

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Support Voting Rights and Representation for the District of Columbia

Concurred as Substituted

Final Text:
Resolved, That the 77th General Convention recognize that:

The United States has been a vigorous human rights advocate for many years, opposing arbitrary restrictions on the right to vote and insisting on fairly conducted elections for legislative representatives;
As a matter of theology, the Church supports equal treatment of the fundamental rights of similarly situated citizens, including the right to vote for elected representatives who decide tax and military service obligations, as well as deciding the benefits of citizenship;
The U.S. Constitution provides for Congress to exercise exclusive legislation for a federal district, Art. I, Sec. 8., Cl. 17, to assure federal military control rather than rely on state militias. Not only has this military rationale been obsolete since the Civil War, it does not justify Congress denying residents of the District of Columbia voting representatives;
Congress has disenfranchised over 600,000 D.C. residents from having representation in the legislature that has exclusive jurisdiction over their city by depriving them of electing Senators or a voting member of the House of Representatives;
District of Columbia residents pay U.S. taxes and serve in the military. They have suffered casualties in every major war since Congress established the district;
The District of Columbia is the only capital of any democracy in the world where residents are deprived of the right to vote in the legislature;
Failure to provide D.C. residents the right to vote in congressional elections has resulted in taxation without representation, is racist in effect, and damages U.S. credibility as a human rights advocate; and be it further
Resolved, That the Convention support the right of District of Columbia residents to enjoy the same rights as every other American citizen, including to right to elect voting members of Congress, whether provision of this right is by retrocession, by statehood, by constitutional amendment, or by congressional legislation; and be it further

Resolved, That the Office of Government Relations is instructed to work in support of appropriate measures to secure the right of D.C. residents to elect voting members of Congress, including appropriate interim steps to increase local autonomy; and be it further

Resolved, That in keeping with our Baptismal covenant to respect the dignity of every human being, U.S. dioceses, bishops, clergy and lay people are urged to support appropriate measures to secure the right to elect voting members of Congress to residents of the District of Columbia.

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Resources

The Episcopal Church

Vote Faithfully is a major focus of the Office of Governmental Affairs.  The office has developed a 2020 Vote Faithfully Toolkit, which provides advocacy resources for use by congregations.

Christian Formation Resources

Books for all age groups on voting rights and responsibilities

The United Church of Christ has developed materials on the connection between faith and voting.

Other Educational Resources

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is uniting people across Ohio and the U.S. to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted morality of religious nationalism.  A major issue in 2020 is voter registration and turn-out in the November election and beyond.

Books about Faith and Politics

Schade, Leah D. Preaching in the Purple Zone: Ministry in the Red-Blue Divide

“Preaching in the Purple Zone is a resource for helping the church understand the challenges facing parish pastors, while encouraging and equipping preachers to address the vital justice issues of our time. This book provides practical instruction for navigating the hazards of prophetic preaching with tested strategies and prudent tactics grounded in biblical and theological foundations. Key to this endeavor is using a method of civil discourse called “deliberative dialogue” for finding common values among politically diverse parishioners. Unique to this book is instruction on using the sermon-dialogue-sermon process developed by the author that expands the pastor’s level of engagement on justice issues with parishioners beyond the single sermon. This book equips clergy to help their congregations respectfully engage in deliberation about “hot topics,” find the values that bind them together, and respond faithfully to God’s Word.” (Amazon)

Wallis, Jim. God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It

“Jim Wallis argues that America’s separation of church and state does not require banishing moral and religious values from the public square. God’s Politics offers a vision for how to convert spiritual values into real social change and has started a grassroots movement to hold our political leaders accountable by incorporating our deepest convictions about war, poverty, racism, abortion, capital punishment, and other moral issues into our nation’s public life. Who can change the political wind? Only we can.” (Amazon)

Wilson-Hartgrove, Jonathan. Revolution of Values: Reclaiming Public Faith for the Common Good

The author “explores how religious culture wars have misrepresented Christianity at the expense of the poor, and how listening to marginalized communities can help us hear God’s call to love and justice in the world.

Episcopal Church news on Faith and Politics

If you are aware of other helpful resources, please share them with the Rev. Canon Lee Anne Reat at lareat@diosohio.org.