I was raised by an American History teacher for whom missing any election, even ones when no major national or statewide offices are at stake, is a grave sin against democracy. (Thanks Mom for the guilt!) This means that I’ll be trekking to the polls early on Tuesday morning November 2 to vote in the midterm elections. But not everyone has a needling Jewish mother. Many will stay home on Election Day and their voices won’t get heard.
This year there is something you can do aside from casting your own ballot — you can take others to the polls with you! Define America 2010, a campaign of the newly-formed Jewish Social Justice Round Table, is a major initiative to get Jews to help increase voter turnout through local outreach.
There are many different organizations and ways to get involved in the effort. If you visit the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs’ website, you can find out about local voter outreach events.
If you happen to live in New York, the Jewish Funds for Justice will join Families United for Racial and Economic Equality on Sunday October 24th, going door to door in Brooklyn to remind people to vote and to discuss campaign issues. To RSVP, please call or email Abby Bellows at abellows at jewishjustice.org or 212-213-2113 x68.
In Minnesota, Jewish Community Action will be hitting the pavement every Sunday to help others exercise their right to vote. For more information, contact Jewish Community Action Voter Engagement Coordinator Hannah Knazan-Lippman, hannah at jewishcommunityaction.org or 612-723-4233.
Or if you find yourself in Alexandria, Virginia you can join Jews United for Justice for Trick or Vote 2010! In their finest Halloween costumes, volunteers will be going door to door just a couple of days before the election to “scare” up some candy and votes. (Actually, scaring is a permissible tactic only to get candy. To get to potential voters, you’re going to have to engage them in lively and friendly conversation.)
Even if there are no local events you can attend, you can still contribute to the effort by getting on the phone and speaking to potential voters, reminding them to raise their voices and “define” the future the America and democracy through their vote.
Pledge your time and help Define America in 2010.