Voting as an Imperative
Voting as an Imperative
In a post written by Rabbi Dara Lithwick on ReformJudaism.org titled "What’s So Jewish About Voting", she opens her essay with the following sentences: “Judaism teaches us that voting is not just a civic duty. In fact, many of our rabbis and sages have framed voting as a mitzvah, a Jewish imperative.”
With the midterm elections in November, voting has never been more important. Since Congress is unable to enact federal laws to establish minimum standards for all states, each state is empowered to create its own rules. In some states that has resulted in laws that are characterized as voter suppression.
Another challenge is misinformation or a lack of clarity about how to navigate voting. Questions about the rules for absentee voting, the need for a voter ID (currently, not in NC), and more. Those questions and misinformation can create obstacles not to vote.
Carolina Jews for Justice (CJJ) is a leader in promoting voting. CJJ cannot take positions on candidates or political parties, but it does work to “create a more just, fair, and compassionate North Carolina”. That means CJJ is working to address the challenges to provide those eligible to vote the information they need to do so. To promote voting, CJJ works with many partners to provide opportunities for people to take action.
It starts by all of us:
- Putting together a plan for voting. A statewide organization, You Can Vote, offers a “pledge to vote” campaign to help make your plan. “Google” their name to sign up, and you will receive timely emails to help you navigate voting.
- Checking that you are registered under your current name at your current address. Go to: https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/ or “google” NC Voter Search. Enter your name to see if you are registered accurately. You can find out what districts you are in to determine what races will be on your ballot and where your polling place is on Election Day. In September, you will be able to see your sample ballot.
- Learning about the candidates on your ballot. Vote411.org is an important website to provide information on candidates and voter guides. CJJ-West is helping people learn about the positions of candidates on key social justice issues for those running for NC General Assembly seats in WNC and US House District 11. Watch for the announcement to get this online candidate guide.
- Joining CJJ for a statewide Get out the Vote (GOTV) Shabbat. This online event is set for the late afternoon on October 21st. There will be opportunities before and after, but the GOTV Shabbat will be a great way to learn, be inspired and “plug in”.
Should you have questions at any point or want to help promote voting here in the west, contact Ron Katz, CJJ-West’s Democracy Rights work group lead. To reach him, email him at [email protected].