Submitted by Holly Walter, LCUSA Advocacy Committee, Northeastern Region
THE UPCOMING ELECTION AND LADIES OF CHARITY
The advocacy committee of LCUSA has presented several posts the past few weeks on the upcoming election in November and our responsibility as citizens to cast our vote. The first post was Civilize It-Dignity Beyond the Debate, and on examining your conscience as you consider all the issues this year. You have been asked to weigh Catholic Social Teaching on many fronts from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) including care and concern for the poor, immigration reform, health care, economic justice, peace, promoting justice, the environment, and combating discrimination in order to prepare to vote. These issues are important to us as Ladies of Charity and form the very essence of why we continue to exist as an organization after 403 years since our founding by St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac. The guidance provided by USCCB helps us to separate the real issues from all the rhetoric we hear every day. Our choices must be based on what we believe and what is important to us. The U.S. Catholic Organization (uscatholic.org) also provides information on voting and how we can make good decisions on the issues presented. We can use all of these tools to help us as we make our choices during this most important election season.
Now I am going to turn to the actual mechanics of voting. Due to the Corona Virus Pandemic many people, especially older Americans are leery of going to the polls to vote in person. So some strategies need to be thought out so that your vote is cast and counted. Since this is a Presidential year, your vote is even more important. What are some options we have for voting?
The first option, of course, is to cast your ballot on election day November 3rd. The best times to go to the polling place near you, if you can, are mid morning and mid afternoon. Polling places are less crowded at those times and you will avoid those voters on their way to work, on their way home from work, and those trying to get to the polls at the last minute. If you are in a high COVID area of the country what are some other options if you feel uncomfortable going to your polling place?
Absentee or mail in ballots have been used successfully in many states for many years. It is a perfectly safe and legitimate way of voting. Another option is early voting. Many states have early voting, sometimes two or even three weeks ahead of the actual election. This is a good option for people who are not hesitant to actually go to the polling place but want to avoid crowds and long lines. These early voting opportunities are usually far less congested and the waiting times are far shorter.
Unless you are intent on going to the polls on election day November 3rd, it is extremely important that you vote as early as you can. Applying for and sending in your mail in ballot early will ensure that your ballot arrives on time and is counted. Check to see if your state provides drop boxes to deposit your ballot in so you don’t have to rely on the United States Postal Service exclusively.
Investigate procedures for voting in your state. The following link is provided to direct you to regulations in your own state regarding mail in ballots and voting rules.
Not only is it important that you vote yourself but that you encourage everyone you know to make sure that they are registered and that they vote this election season. Talk to friends, relatives, other Ladies of Charity, fellow parishioners at your parish, and others in your community and mention how important it is to vote. Offer rides to those who need them to get to the polls on election day. Volunteer to be a poll worker in your area.
As Ladies of Charity we consider voting a very important duty and privilege as an American citizen.
Thank you for your attention and your advocacy.
Contact the LCUSA Advocacy Committee
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