Protecting Voting Rights: UUs attend “Hands off my Ballot”
Unitarian Universalists from the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Nashua the Starr King Unitarian Universalist Fellowship attended the “Hands off my Ballot” demonstration at Saint Anselm College. Around 70 people from across the Granite State gathered to protest Kris Kobach’s “electoral integrity commission”. While this commission’s stated aim is to prevent voter fraud, many organizations across both the state and the country have denounced it for promoting policies that will suppress the vote.
As Unitarian Universalists, UUANH deeply values the democratic process. Indeed, the fifth principle of Unitarian Universalism is: “The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.” Because of our commitment to the fifth principle, UUANH opposes any attempt at voter suppression in New Hampshire and supports programs that will make voting even easier. Voting ought to be as easy as possible in order to encourage all citizens to vote.
The “Hands off our Ballot” demonstration was preceded by a short rally.
The rally included speeches by Rev. Eric Jackson, president of the Greater Manchester Area chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Devon Chaffee, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire. Devon Chaffee gave an update on the status of New Hampshire Senate Bill 3, a new law that threatens to prevent many citizens in New Hampshire from voting in the 2017 election and later elections. A coalition including New Hampshire citizens, the League of Women Voters of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Democratic Party, and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire has initiated a civil suit against Senate Bill 3. Devon Chaffee announced that as of September 12, New Hampshire judge Charles Temple had ruled parts of Senate Bill 3 unconstitutional. The struggle over Senate Bill 3 continues.
In protecting our current voting rights and pushing for expansive and easy voting, UUANH is continuing a long and proud legacy of Unitarian Universalists working, fighting and even dying for the right to vote. Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies reminds us of this legacy and calls upon us to act in the names of those who have gone before: “Friends, a Unitarian Universalist minister was clubbed to death by a baseball bat so that others might have the right to vote. We cannot stand by silently while that right is once again eroded. In the name of James Reeb, and Jimmie Lee Jackson, and all those who struggled for voting rights—and for the sake of our democracy—we must protect every American’s access to the ballot box.”
1. Sign & distribute the Gardner petition from groups asking Gardner to disaffiliate from Kobach and the commission.
2. Call, write and email the NH Secretary of State and his deputy David Scanlan and ask Gardner to step down from the fraud commission, ask him to support modernization not roll backs and tell him you're a voter and taxpayer and you're watching.
Bill Gardner, NH State House, 107 North Main Street, Room 204, Concord, N.H. 03301
3. Call your state Representatives and Senators and educate them about why the Sham Commission is just wrong in New Hampshire and to protect every Granite Stater’s right to vote. See talking points below.
4. Get a meeting with your town's moderator to discuss ways to get involved in municipal and state elections to ensure there are enough good actors running your polling place on Election Day.