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Find a Local Partner or Connect with Our National Partners

Focus States:

Find the contacts and activities in UU the Vote’s top line states.

Pennsylvania

Arizona

Janine in AZ with save our schools sign

Contact: 
Janine Gelsinger
UUtheVoteAZ {at} gmail.com

UUJAZ’s strategy and partnerships unite our organizing efforts in Arizona state-wide, and focus us in engaging in values-based conversations in a virtual deep-canvassing model. Our work includes:

1) Supporting ballot initiatives aligned with our values. UUs are at the table for Outlaw Dirty Money, Invest in Ed, and Save Our Schools ballot initiatives, collecting and verifying signatures, serving as petition depots and notories, and pushing our state legislators to allow online signature collection.

2) Engaging candidates for city, county, and state seats based on the issues. The ACLU of AZ Smart Justice campaign leads us in recognizing the power of County Attorney candidates, a race which could see de-carceration by 50%, an end to cash bail, and elimination of private prisons. Equality Arizona raises the voices of LGBTQ+ Arizonans against the constant barrage of bad bills each legislative session, threatening to strip rights and limit protections, and looks to elect a State House and Senate that will affirm all people. During the legislative season, weekly updates from two of our UU policy leaders keep us informed on who in the state house and senate are proposing and voting for the bills we oppose, so we can vote instead for equity and justice. Sunrise Movement pushes candidates to commit to supporting Green New Deal legislation at the city, state, and national level.

3) Creating a UU youth and young adult led social media campaign. We are thrilled to welcome UUs Phoebe Dubisch and Chloe Stevenson-Brown to our team as paid staff, leading fellow youth and young adult UUs in creating an Instagram and Tiktok campaign for #VoteLove.

4) Defending our voting process from suppression and increasing turnout. From demanding a vote by mail ballot for all eligible voters, to partnering with Reclaim Our Vote to text, call, and send postcards, we know that a UU’d vote is one where everyone has a voice.

5) Resourcing historically marginalized communities to thrive. We know that there are endless barriers in place to voter engagement in our Black, indigenous, communities of color, incarcerated folks, disabled, and poor communities, now more than ever. UUs joined and formed Covid-19 Mutual Aid pods from Sedona to Bisbee, including a 5k member mutual aid network in Phoenix moderated by Black Phoenix Organizing Collective. We’re working to de-carcerate via “car”avan protests, calls and petitions, alongside Puente Human Rights Movement and Mass Liberation AZ. We pushed for and won civilian oversight of the Phoenix PD with a coalition of ten grassroots orgs. We supported the Black Mesa community on the Navajo Nation with food and Covid-19 supplies, led by Black Lives Matter Phx Metro, Food Not Bombs, Sunrise Movement, and others. 

We collected stimulus checks from UUs to distribute to undocumented folks, and to bond folks out of detention, for Keep Prescott Together, No More Deaths, and the Undocumented Workers Relief Fund. UUs volunteer to transport and feed asylum seekers released from detention with Phoenix Restoration Project, the IRCs Welcome Center, Casa Alitas, the Samaritans, People Helping People, and Fronteras de Christos. 

Last but not least, UUs followed Poder in Action in using their voices to their mayors and city council members to spend CARES relief funds to invest in mental health resources, shelter and health services for folks without homes, and not on increased policing. We know that leveraging privlege and redistributing resources means we all have the best chance at making it to the polls and using our voices for change.

North Carolina

Lisa marching in Raleigh with Forward Together sign

Contact: 
Lisa Garcia-Sampson, Forward Together
lisa {at} uuforwardtogether.org

North Carolina has a long history of voter suppression, gerrymandering, and harmful policies which disproportionately affect the most vulnerable in our state. This year, UUs across North Carolina are mobilizing alongside our partners in justice to fight for fair and safe elections.

With the support of our two major partners, Democracy North Carolina and You Can Vote, the UU Justice Ministry of North Carolina is supporting four regional UU networks (Western NC, Charlotte, Triad/Triangle and East Coast) so that they can have the greatest possible impact this year. Through the generous financial support of the UUA and the UU Funding Program, we are doing deep canvassing, writing postcards, and whatever else it takes to respond to voter suppression and promote our UU values.

Along the way, we are deepening our relationships with our community partners and our fellow UU congregations so that our partnerships remain strong past November.

Especially this year, we are called to be resilient, creative, deeply rooted, and ready for whatever comes our way. Join us. We need all the help we can get.

Ohio

Director of UUJO

Contact: 
Joan VanBecelaere, UU Justice Ohio
uujoanvanb {at} gmail.com

UU Justice Ohio is recruiting and coordinating UUs in Ohio for voter outreach, education, registration and get-out-the-vote support as part of the larger Oho Voter Rights Coalition and its Nonpartisan Ohio Voter Outreach Committee. UUJO is also recruiting non-UUs for the Voter Outreach Committee through our partners. Major education efforts include Online Community Conversations and we are using social media and phones for voter registration work.

Pennsylvania

UUPLAN raise the wage rally

Contact: 
Joan Sabatino, UUPLAN
director {at} uuplan.org
Rev. Cathy Rion Starr – UUtheVote PA Organizer, crionstarr {at} uuma.org 

Thanks for helping us UUtheVote in Pennsylvania!  We have a statewide Steering Committee and our work is hosted by UUJusticePA. Our goal is to engage 1,000 UUs in  Pennsylvania to take part in moving our values more fully into our political system – that’s 20% of PA Unitarian Univeralists!  All of our activities are non-partisan voter registration, vote-by-mail, and voter activation work. Whether you are in Pennsylvania or not, we hope you’ll join us!

 

We are working with 4 partners:

PAUNITED in Pittsburgh and western PA

PA Stands Up and CASA  in Central Pennsylvania

POWER  in and around Philadelphia

 

Our general weekly schedule is as follows (please double check the sign ups for a particular day, as the schedule may vary).  Sign up for any of these events by scrolling down past the map below to the event list. 

 

    • Sundays, 1:30pm-4:30pm: All Hands On Deck PA Gathering: we begin with grounding and updates phonebanking with Pennsylvania Stands Up on Thrutalk. On Sundays 9/27, 10/18, and 11/1 we will also be text banking on Hustle with CASA.
    • Mondays, 4:00-8:00pm: Textbank with Pennsylvania Stands Up This uses Spoke – you can jump on in or first attend a full training any Tuesday from 5-6pm. Text training sign up is here
    • Tuesday and Thursday, 6:00-8:30pm: Let Our People Vote: POWER Phone Bank Night  
  • Thursdays, 6:30-9:00pm: Phonebank with PAUNITED 



All of our phonebanks are currently using Thrutalk . If you want to get a head start, learn about Thrutalk: 

  1. Read the Dialer Help Guide and/or WATCH the UU the Vote Dialer Demo Here (it’s a script from Georgia, but you’ll get the idea)
  2. Make sure you are on a laptop or desktop computer and using either the Chrome or Firefox browser. *It will not work on an ipad or with the Safari browser.

 

Pennsylvania congregations: Help us meet our 1,000 Pennsylvanian UUs goal in 3 easy steps:   [maybe make this a box or column somewhere? I don’t know what’s easiest for you]

    1. Pledge!   We are asking all Pennsylvania congregations to pledge how many volunteers you plan to engage before the election. Pledge here [INSERT LINK TO PLEDGE FORM – Joan will have final]
  • Recruit! Figure out what activities you will recruit people to do (and/or pick a couple dates to sponsor a phonebank, where you get a whole bunch of folks to come out together to an event).  Learn about opportunities and sign up: https://www.uuplan.org/uu-the-vote-pa/ 

 

Thank you for being a part of this, and don’t hestitate to be in touch with questions, gifts you have to offer, or support you need! 

 

In faith and love,

Rev. Joan Sabatino – UUJusticePA (formerly UUPLAN) Director and UUtheVote Coordinator, [email protected]

Rev. Cathy Rion Starr – UUtheVote PA Organizer, [email protected] 

Caron Carnahan – Western PA lead (with Joan)

Rev. Terry Cummings – Central PA lead (with Joan)

Rev. Abbey Tennis – Philadelphia/Eastern PA lead (with Cathy)

Maine

Contact: 
Sue Ellen Bordwell
sebordwell {at} gmail.com

On May 9th, MUUSAN launched UU the Vote Maine. We are working with UU the Vote National, the League of Women Voters of Maine, the Poor People’s Campaign and our congregation’s justice partners to gain electoral justice in Maine and contribute to outreach in other key states as well. We are contacting low-propensity voters in historically disenfranchised communities and helping turnout the vote in 2020. 

Massachusetts

Laura Wagner

Contact: 
Laura Wagner
Lwagner {at} uumassaction.org

“UU Mass Action organizes and mobilizes UUs in Massachusetts to confront oppression.  We have one mission: to create a world where all people are honored and valued.  We work from a relationship model that centers the voices and leadership of those who are directly impacted.  Our campaigns include Ending Mass Incarceration & Solitary Confinement, Environmental Justice and Action, Economic and Immigrant Justice.  Creating systemic change is a crucial component when confronting oppression.  

Despite our reputation as a “liberal blue state,” there is little transparency in our legislative process or state level systems.  People who are imprisoned in Massachusetts are excluded from the voting process.  Economic inequality often makes access to the polls difficult to impossible for many others.  Our members understand the barriers to democracy in Massachusetts and also have a strong desire to partner with other states, as well. 

Our leadership team includes many outstanding activists and congregations who are leading this effort.  Some of the activities include:

o Sending thousands of postcards for specific actions (such as vote by mail, Reclaim Our Vote)

o Outreach to partners in North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania and Maine

o Film & discussion events (Including, “Suppressed”)

o Publishing a weekly digest summarizing many opportunities for action and resources

Wisconsin

Nora Rasman at brick wall

Contact: 
Nora Rasman
nrasman {at} uua.org

Wisconsin Elections 2020 FAQ

Nuts and Bolts voter resources

Primary Elections: August 11, 2020

Deadlines: 

  • Wed July 22: Register by Mail & Register online
  • Thu August 6 5PM: Absentee ballot request online
  • Wed August 7: Register at Municipal Clerk Office (find municipal clerks here)
  • Tue August 11: Register at Polling Place (WI has same day registration)
  • Tue August 11 8PM: Absentee ballot delivered & postmarked (USPS suggests send a week in advance to ensure it is delivered)

General Election: November 3, 2020

Deadlines:

  • Wed October 14: Register by Mail & Register online
  • Wed October 14: Register at Municipal Clerk Office (find municipal clerks here)
  • Thu October 29 5PM: Absentee ballot request online
  • Tue Nov 3: Register at Polling Place (WI has same day registration)
  • Tue Nov 3 8PM: Absentee ballot delivered & postmarked (USPS suggests send a week in advance to ensure it is delivered)

Absentee Ballot Process

  • Eligibility: Any qualified elector who registers to vote in Wisconsin is eligible to request an absentee ballot.
  • No excuses needed. Any registered voter in Wisconsin can request an absentee ballot from their municipal clerk.
  • Photo ID requirements. You must include a copy of your photo ID along with your request (unless your municipal clerk already has one on file because you have voted absentee recently from your current address). For those making their request online, take a picture of your license, passport or valid ID on your phone and upload it to the site.

Wisconsin Registration Rules – to register in Wisconsin you must:

  • be a citizen of the United States
  • be a resident of Wisconsin for at least 10 days
  • be 18 years old
  • not have been convicted of treason, felony or bribery, or if you have, your civil rights have been restored. You can vote if you have been convicted of a misdemeanor. You can vote  if you’re in jail for a misdemeanor, or if you’re in jail because you’re waiting for your trial but haven’t been convicted yet, you can vote – via absentee ballot.

Recent news:

Appeals court limits Wisconsin early voting to 2 weeks before election, stops voters from receiving ballots via email, fax, June 29, 2020

Wisconsin Supreme Court Narrows Possibility Of Voter Roll Purge Before November, July 1, 2020

 

Sources:

ACLU WI “VOTING RIGHTS FOR PERSONS WITH CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS”

League of Women Voters – Wisconsin

Wisconsin Election Protection

Texas

Contact: 
Rev. Chuck Freeman 
chuckfreeman2 {at} Gmail.com

Texas UU Justice Ministry is working with organizations like the Industrial Areas foundations groups across the state, the League of Women voters and is actively seeking other partnerships to register, mobilize, and get voters to the polls.  We are also working toward mail in voting for all Texans.

Virginia

Contact: 
Kelsey Cowger 
kelseyacowger {at} gmail.com 

I am the staff organizer for the Reeb Project for Voting Rights and Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice.  I am helping organize voting rights and ballot access campaigns in some areas of VA, PA and NC that have been especially hard-hit by systemic and systematic voter disenfranchisement. 

Michigan

MUUSJN Logo

Contact: 
Randy Block
randyblock {at} yahoo.com

The Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network (MUUSJN) is launching plans to organize Get Out the Vote activities in 16 UU congregations throughout Michigan. We will work in partnership with interfaith allies — the United Church of Christ and the National Council  of Jewish Women. We have funding commitments and will coordinate with two organizations that are led by people of color. We also are launching outreach to people from LGBTQ communities through other national and local partners.  The MUUSJN Board of Directors has made GOTV activities as a priority for 2020.  Michigan voters adopted a no reason absentee ballot voting last fall.  We will be focusing our work on activities that can be accomplished by our activists from the safety of their own homes.  This includes on-line voter registration, on-line requesting to be put on absentee ballot lists, phone banking and use of social media through our congregations and through our partners. 

Florida

UUJF Logo

UU Justice Florida is organizing with migrant, environmental, democracy and multi-faith partners for justice in public policy and social change. In 2018 we organized with the Second Chances Coalition to win on Amendment 4 and gain voting rights for people with felony convictions. Now are supporting the Florida Restoration Rights Coalition in their efforts to register all those eligible under Amendment 4 and to raise funds for the Amendment 4 Fines and Fee Campaign. We are partnering with the UU the Vote National Team and all our statewide justice partners to help mobilize UUs in Florida for electoral justice in 2020.

Maryland

Maryland SAN Logo

“After the pandemic forced the Maryland General Assembly to adjourn early for the first time since the Civil War, the UU Legislative Ministry of Maryland turned its attention to the 2020 elections. In addition to individuals working for candidates of their choosing, we are asking Maryland UUs to join us in promoting democracy through their local congregations and joining our Democracy Task Force to help support and coordinate the work of congregations in registering voters, educating candidates and voters on our issues, and helping people vote. 

At the federal level, both of our Senators and all but one of our Representatives are supporting measures to establish voting by mail across the country. 

Scientific studies have shown that conducting voter registration, education and turnout activities as a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization is more effective in increasing voter turnout than any political campaign can be. Being approached by nonpartisan groups instead of parties or candidates has a significantly higher impact on turnout.  There is an important role we can play in encouraging voting by those with the most to lose in the election, and it clearly supplements rather than competes with political campaigns that we might favor.

We are asking UUs to reach out to everyone they know to: 

• Find out how they are and what they may need (then connect them with those who can meet their needs) 

• Encourage participation in the census 

• Emphasize the importance of the upcoming elections to hold our leaders accountable, and 

• Ask if they can continue to touch base throughout the pandemic. 

UULM-MD is continuing to work with congregations as they organize their own efforts, and we are coordinating with other State Action Networks (SANs) to plan efforts in neighboring states as well.

 

New Hampshire

Tristan Husby, NH San Director

100% Voting Congregations
UUs often assume that their fellow congregants are just as concerned about elections as they are. That is not the case. We cannot afford to assume that every UU is already registered to vote.

We ask congregations that commit to becoming 100% voting congregations take this commitment seriously. We will help get to a 100% voting congregation by:

  • Preaching about the importance of voting
  • Cross-checking your membership rolls with the voter database
  • Distributing voting pledge cards
  • Voter Registration Outreach
  •  

UU the Vote NH is partnering with groups like the Granite State Organizing Project so that UUs can register unregistered voters this summer and fall. We are in the process of re-envisioning what this work looks like as we practice social distancing. Expect more from us about this soon!

 

Minnesota

MUUSJA Logo

UU’s in Minnesota & Dakotas, in coalition with nonpartisan pro-democracy partners, will inform, engage, and mobilize voters, as one strategy to create a more just and loving world. 

 

California

Contact: 
Ranwa Hammamy
votingrights {at} uujmca.org

Since March 2020, the UU Justice Ministry of California has been providing monthly “Vote Love” gatherings for UUs around California to connect and share resources as a core part of our UU the Vote ministry, as well as receive updates from UUJMCA’s statewide partners. We are actively recruiting for a team that will serve three primary functions: 1) Support education and promotion of the “Schools & Communities First” initiative; 2) Amplify & support critical county and city based votes that, particularly sheriff and school board races, and 3) Coordinate UUJMCA collaborations with our partner organizations. Our statewide work is shaped by youth and BIPOC-led grassroots movements, specifically the Youth Voter Movement, GenUp (Generation Up), and Power California. Email us or sign up at uujmca.org/UUtheVote.

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