As part of its patriotic mission, the Knights of Columbus encourages its members, their families, parishes and communities to exercise their right to vote with this simple message: Be patriotic, vote, and encourage others to get out and vote!
We are asking all U.S. Knights to participate in the 2020 “Nonpartisan National Get Out And Vote Program” by visiting kofcvotes.org.
What is in this program?
Need to register to vote? Need to check if you or someone you know is registered to vote? Need to find polling locations? Or want to learn more about absentee and early voting? It is all here. The information is from nonpartisan websites maintained by the National Association of Secretaries of State and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
Why does Knights of Columbus sponsor a “get out the vote” program?
For one simple reason: Every. Vote. Matters.
Even in a presidential election, which is decided by the Electoral College, your vote decides how your state’s Electoral College votes apportioned, which in turn affects the national election result.
You might’ve heard that the 2020 presidential election is “the most important election” in our lifetimes. Although it may seem like a tired phrase since it has been used repeatedly over the past two decades, the sentiment rings true this year more than ever before. Yet how many people really believe this?
Turns out, only a little more than half of the voting population does. The highest voter turnout in the past two decades was 62.20% in 2008. The lowest was 36.70% during the 2014 mid-term elections. Yet every election carries with it its own consequences that shape the future of the American Republic at the national, state and local levels.
It is unsurprising that presidential elections result in a higher turnout. But think about it, even with the highest office in the land being decided upon, 40% of eligible voters won’t vote — even though this is a right and responsibility of every U.S. citizen. Are you, or someone you know, one of those Americans?
And there is more at stake this year than the presidency. There are races for the U.S. Congress, U.S. Senate, state representatives and local offices. All these elections impact our everyday lives and the lives of so many others in our communities.
If election results impact us all —and they do — shouldn’t everyone have a say? That’s the American way. Our Founders envisioned a country with duly elected representatives at the local, state and federal levels with heavy voter participation. Since 1789, the right to vote has been vastly expanded to include more citizens. The only way representatives can represent the concerns and vision of their constituents is for everyone who is eligible to vote to have their say and get out and vote. As Knights, we take it as our patriotic duty to remind our communities of the importance of voting.
Are we advocating for a presidential candidate by participating in this program?
No. Members are not permitted to engage in partisan political activity in the name of the Knights of Columbus. That means we are not advocating for the success or failure of a candidate, party or group. We are here to serve others and aid those who may not know where or how to register and/or cast their ballot.
What about the pandemic — doesn’t that impact about how much we can help come Election Day?
There are still ways Knights can ensure that no neighbor is left behind. If someone is uncertain of going to a polling location on Nov. 3, there are other options such as early voting, absentee voting or, in some states, mail-in voting. But it’s important to “get out and vote” sooner because most states have deadlines on when to register for those forms of voting.
And on Election Day, if social distancing guidelines and safe practices such as frequent handwashing and wearing a mask are followed, then it is still possible to encourage greater voter participation in this election cycle.
So be patriotic. Take the pledge to vote! And encourage others to get out and vote!
Share your story of how your council is helping strengthen people’s faith and offering support during this time. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published in a weekly edition of Knightline, a resource for K of C leaders and members. To access Knightline’s archives, click here.
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