Two unique efforts to get out the vote in our region have been launched, one by churches who are setting up a transportation network through churches, the other by Jobs with Justice setting up a grassroots get-out-the vote network through individual commitments to ensure people vote on Nov. 6.
• Souls to the Polls is calling on all churches, synagogues, temples, and masques to establish a transportation network of volunteers within their congregations to drive voters to the polls.
• The Justice League is looking for volunteers to commit, before Oct.15, to contact people that Jobs with Justice has already identified in swing areas to educate them on the payday loan and minimum wage issues and then agree to see that they vote on Nov. 6.
SOULS TO THE POLLS
In what has to be a most unique effort, Souls To The Polls is an ecumenical, non-partisan collaborative mobilization effort on behalf of the religious community in response to efforts to suppress voter turnout in November.
Launched in St. Louis initially in the African-American community, its organizers are calling on all faiths to join in the effort to ensure everyone has the ability to vote in the most critical November election. Currently more than three dozen churches are committed to develop a transportation system within their church to drive voters to the polls.
For more information and practical guidelines on how to organize an internal ride-to-the-polls effort, please call 314-480-6233.
Pastor Traci Blackmon, Christ The King United Church of Christ, attended last month’s Clergy/Labor Alliance meeting to explain the program and asked for help in spreading the word to other religious groups.
“There is a masked campaign to suppress the vote, and no matter who you favor, that’s not right,” she told the assembled pastors and labor leaders. “Churches are getting together to have a collective voice by ensuring anyone who wants to vote, will be able to get to the polls.
“This is a civil rights issue on which the collective church cannot be silent,” she stressed.
The collaborative effort, in addition to the church-centered rides for their own parishioners, will have a single phone number that anyone can call at the last minute to get a ride. From that central point, calls will go out to the nearest participating church to arrange for a scheduled pickup time for a ride to and from the polls.
Souls to the Polls has the cooperation of the St. Louis Clergy Coalition and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. More community groups are expected to endorse this effort as it becomes better known. A number of organizations are donating time for marketing, public relations, advertising, and printing.
The Labor Tribune calls on all our readers to take this message to their own religious leader and encourage them to join this effort. For working people, all Americans, this will be one of the most critical elections in our lifetime. We can’t let apathy, or the Republican voter suppression efforts, steal the election!
Being organized state-wide by Jobs with Justice, the effort is bringing the Superheroes we love – Batman, Batwoman, Superman, Superwoman, The Flash, Green Lantern and the Avengers - into real live focus by asking concerned people to become a real life Superhero by working to turn out the November vote to cap the usurious payday loans and increase the minimum wage.
Currently campaign committees for both issues are challenging the decision of the Secretary of State that they did not have enough valid signatures to get on the ballot. Confident of success and that both will be on the Nov. 6 ballot, the campaigns are moving forward aggressively to put a solid get-out-the-vote effort into motion.
The Justice League program is one of those efforts.
Using priority voter lists in swing voter areas collected by Jobs with Justice, volunteers will be asked to commit to a Superhero level based on contacting a specific number of potential voters, educating them on the issues and then ensuring they get to the polls to vote on Nov. 6.
Superhero levels are:
• Batman, Batwoman – 50 new supporters.
• Superman, Superwoman – 100 new supporters
• Flash – 250 new supporters
• Green Lantern – 500 new supporters
• Avengers – 500 + new supporters.
The campaign will provide appropriate training. Dates are being planned now.
Volunteers will be asked to:
• Attend a training session.
• Commit to a Superhero level.
• Work at least three hours from Nov. 3-6 on get-out-the-vote efforts.
• Help by knocking on doors, manning phone banks or working the polls on Election Day, your choice.
Want to become a Superhero?
Get involved in either, or both, programs.
• Justice League: Call Jobs with Justice: in St. Louis – 314-644-0466; in Kansas City – 816-753-0689.
• Souls to the Polls: call Pastor Traci Blackmon, 314-741-6808.