With primary elections scheduled on Tuesday, Aug. 11 and general elections on Nov. 3, this is a good time to review guidance from the Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC) on our voting responsibilities as Catholic citizens. For those who are choosing to “shelter at home” due to Covid-19, please request an absentee ballot to vote. It’s a simple process online at mnvotes.org and it’s a responsible way to vote in our “social distancing” environment. Deadline for absentee voting in the primary election is Monday, Aug. 10.
Per the MCC: “As Catholics, we are called to fully participate in the political process. As individual citizens, we are called to be informed voters and to encourage our elected officials to act on behalf of the common good. . . . “
“How Does the Church Work to Influence Public Policy? The Church expresses its official position on public policy matters through the Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC). MCC public policy staff lobbies and communicates on issues of concern to the Church. The Catholic Bishops of the state guide the work of the MCC. The MCC provides information and resources to help citizens engage their elected officials on matters of concern to the common good.
“Why is Some Activity Prohibited? Because of its tax-exempt status, the Church, its parishes, agencies, and organizations are subject to rules regarding political activity. . . . While the Church may engage in issue-related activity, it may not be involved in partisan political candidate activities.
“What Activity is Permitted? The Church has a right and responsibility to weigh in on public issues. As Catholics, we are called to work for policies that protect the poor and vulnerable and uphold life at all stages. To that end, parishes and Church organizations are allowed to participate in the following types of activities:
Advocacy for or against ballot initiatives such as constitutional amendments
Advocacy for or against legislation
Distributing materials related to specific issues that do not reference candidates or parties
Participating in non-partisan voter registration efforts or get-out-the-vote drives
Organizing issue-specific letter writing campaigns or lobby day events
Sponsoring public voter education forums on specific issues”
“In the Catholic tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue; participation in the political process is a moral obligation.” -United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (usccb.org)
Other sources for this column include the Minnesota Catholic Conference website (MCC.org) and Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State (mnvotes.org); visit these sites for more information.