Wisconsin Council of Churches (WCC) and Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice (WFVJ) are partnering together to engage the interfaith community in the democratic process through the Wisconsin Interfaith Voter Engagement Campaign, also known as WIVEC.
It is our belief that engaging in this work will build increased understanding and stronger ties among different faith communities; increase engagement in the electoral process; and result in a greater understanding by faith communities of the influential role they can play in the public square. Learn more.
WIVEC'S PRAY WITH YOUR FEET, PRAY WITH YOUR VOTE
As we move into 2024, we are already beginning to hear about elections. With both a spring and a fall election which include a presidential race, the election will be front and center this year. As people of faith, we may be asking, what does my faith have to do with voting? While there are strict rules about the separation of church and state (faith communities are not allowed to tell people who to vote for), there are plenty of ways that faith communities CAN do civic engagement and be involved in the election process. In fact, we often advocate that faith communities have a duty to be involved in advocacy and the public sphere.
As a faith community, your congregation can encourage voting, host voter registration drives, do non-partisan voter outreach through events like postcard parties and canvassing, hold candidate forums (as long as all candidates are invited), and do voter education.
Canvassers from WIVEC worked from last July, for the August primary, through November 6 to #GetOutTheVote for the general election. We had canvassers in Madison, Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha, talking to voters, giving out literature, helping voters get registered, making sure they had the right ID, and making sure they knew where their polling places were.
WITH THE HELP OF WIVEC CANVASSERS, WE HAD ONE OF THE HIGHEST VOTER TURNOUTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY IN 2023!
3 Levels of Civic Engagement
New this year, WIVEC has designated three levels to help congregations assess how they’d like to do voter engagement. Once your congregation signs up, we will reach out to provide resources. We are updating our list so even if your congregation has been part of WIVEC in the past, please still fill out this google form.
WIVEC has an interfaith organizer, Rhonda Lindner, who is available to resource and help congregations think through how they can participate in voter engagement in their context. Feel free to reach out to her (or Rev. Breanna Illéné on the WCC staff or Rabbi Bonnie Margulis at WFVJ) with questions or to brainstorm projects.
Widespread voter engagement is needed to ensure that elected leaders will pay attention to the needs of all their constituents, especially those who are least often listened to, and who have the most at stake in the decisions made by our elected officials.