The Episcopal Church has a strong history of encouraging voter participation and recognizes participating in public life as an act of Christian stewardship.
“If we who are Christians participate in the political process and in the public discourse as we are called to do — the New Testament tells us that we are to participate in the life of the polis, in the life of our society — the principle on which Christians must vote is the principle: does this look like love of neighbor?”
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
Several Spanish-speaking congregations across Houston recently asked EHF what they could do to encourage more people in their communities to vote. As a result, EHF helped develop a partnership between the churches and Mi Familia Vota, a national non-profit organization that engages with the Latino community to promote social and economic justice through civic participation.
The partnership began with an event to increase voter registration and increase awareness of voter rights held at La Iglesia Episcopal San Pablo in Southeast Houston.. Members of several congregations wanted to find a way to get involved and to ensure their voices were heard on the issues important to them.
Following the great success at San Pablo, Mi Familia Vota and the Episcopal Diocese of Texas held a special voter registration training in August for key leaders from Houston area Spanish-speaking congregations.
Participants from St. Alban’s, Christ Church Cathedral, St. Christopher’s, San Pedro, and San Mateo attended the training. They joined Fr. Uriel Lopez, Hispanic Ministry Missioner, and Carlos Duarte from Mi Familia Vota to learn more about what their congregations can do to not only increase voter registration in their communities, but also increase knowledge of voter rights, the issues, and participation on election day.
Participants learned while Latinos make up almost 40% of all Texans, only about half of Texas Latinos are eligible to vote. The training session gave important information about voting dates and deadlines, voter registration forms and voter ID laws.
As a part of the Houston #EpiscopalesVotan/#EpiscopaliansVote campaign, the participating congregations will host voter registration drives, organize phone bank events, coordinate marches to the polls from their congregations, and develop a coordinated social media presence to raise awareness. A number of participants will also become voter deputy registrars who will play a vital role in this election by registering people to vote.
Moving forward, Mi Familia Vota will work with congregations to support voter registration drives planned within their church.
September 27 – National Voter Registration Day
October 11 — Last Day to Register to Vote
October 16 – First Day for Early Voting in Texas
November 4– Last Day for Early Voting in Texas
November 8– Election Day!
You can read more about the Episcopal Church’s Episcopalians Vote Campaign through the Episcopal Public Policy Network and the various resources they have about voter rights, issues and resources for mobilizing voters in your community.
If you’d like more information about how your congregation or community can get involved in the Texas elections, please contact us.