Over the last several weeks, our communities, state, and global family witnessed and experienced a series of traumatic events amid a global pandemic that is not yet at bay. With the murder of George Floyd and a subsequent uprising, there is a deep sense of collective uncertainty plaguing our communities as we begin to pick up the pieces and work toward better days.
Leaders in our community are debating where to assign blame for these events and their consequences. Throughout all the pain and traumas our communities have experienced, the key word on everyone’s mind is “accountability.” Holding our elected officials accountable through the power of our votes is critical to the functioning of our constitutional republic.
At Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, a common phrase is a quote from Pope Paul VI, “If you want peace, work for justice.” One way to work for justice is to give voice to the voiceless through our civic duties. Over the last two election cycles, Minnesota ranked number one for voter turnout – a fact of which we are proud.
This year Minnesotans will return to the polls for what is arguably one of the most important elections of our lifetime. Every state senator, state representative, the President, one US senator, and a great number of local elected officials are on the ballot. Your vote is a statement of support or opposition of your current elected officials and a prediction of the direction you would like to see our state and nation go.
In the words of the late Congressman John Lewis, a civil rights legend, “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?” Catholic Social Teaching tells us that voting is not just a right; it is a moral obligation. Voting is a one-way act toward the common good- you can feel empowered and uplift your voices in the People’s House. In Minnesota, you can vote in-person or absentee (also known as vote-by-mail) for the November 3rd general election. Here are several resources to help:
- Find out if you are eligible to vote.
- Register or update your voter registration. (Not sure if you’re already registered? Check your voter registration status online.)
- Learn how to vote if you don’t have an address.
- Find your polling place, if planning to vote in person.
- Request an absentee ballot to vote by mail if you’ll be gone on election day or are worried about voting in-person during the COVID-19 pandemic. Voting by mail is safe and secure.
- Consider registering to be an election judge to play a more direct role in our democracy by ensuring elections are free and fair. (Positions are paid, and it is a great opportunity for young people to engage while keeping the most senior members of our community safe, too!)
- Remember that every vote counts! Share this information with family and friends.
For more common questions and answers about voting, check out the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website.
As your brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, if you are eligible to vote, we strongly encourage you to do so.
Vote for the future you want to see. Vote to honor the legacies of legends who fought to secure our right to vote. Most importantly, vote because you want your voice to be heard and listened to. Democracy dies in silence and if you vote, you can prevent that from happening.
As a member of the Social Justice Advocacy & Engagement team, I lead the strategic development and execution of Catholic Charities’ public policy agenda. My work covers local, state and federal levels, advocating for policies and programs that promote justice in the community.