Monday, October 23, 2023

Churches Plan to "Ballot Harvest"

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Christian and conservative advocacy organizations are urging churches to take an active role in voter outreach and ballot collection efforts (ballot harvesting) with the 2024 presidential election just over a year away, saying they must take advantage of mail-in ballot laws even if the majority of them prefer to vote in person. 

The term "ballot harvesting" immediately caught my attention because it is almost exclusively associated with voter fraud and the Left.

However, leaders in the Christian community and leading churches are encouraging Christians to get involved in legal, ethical "ballot gathering" in the upcoming presidential election.

Be informed, not misled.

The term "ballot harvesting" has become a buzzphrase in recent years with the emergence of mail-in and absentee ballot voting, which became a more mainstream way to vote during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Ballot harvesting" describes the process where a person, sometimes a paid political operative, collects absentee ballots en masse from voters and turns them in on their behalf. 

Although many conservatives were urged to vote in person during the 2020 presidential election in which Democrat President Joe Biden won, leading Christian and conservative activist organizations have given space at their annual conferences this year to stress the importance of leveling the playing field by mobilizing churches and the faithful to "bank" votes before election day arrives. 

Christian leaders are saying, "We must reject the negative connotation of 'ballot harvesting.'"

The term "ballot harvesting" carries a negative connotation for many conservatives as it is often used to make the practice appear nefarious or outside the bounds of the rules. But since several state election laws allow for such efforts, other terms like "ballot gathering" or "ballot collecting" are becoming more popular alternatives amid attempts to get Christian conservatives more engaged in the effort. 

Gina Gleason, who leads the Real Impact ministry focusing on ballot-gathering efforts at the California-based megachurch Calvary Chapel Chino Hills (Pastor Jack Hibbs), identified 17 states where churches can feasibly take an active role in ballot-collecting during a panel discussion at the Family Research Council's Pray, Vote, Stand Summit in Washington, D.C. last month.

Those states are California, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.

Many of our readers of this column and listeners to our daily radio program live in these states. If you live in one of these states, I would encourage you to look into the opportunities and consider becoming a "ballot gatherer" for the presidential election.

"Work while it is still day..."

While our freedoms are systematically being attacked by the Left, many of those freedoms are still in place. 

We must exercise those freedoms. 

In an interview with The Christian Post, Gleason said that while she believes "the best way to vote would be to walk into a polling location and vote in person," she says, "California law says that a person can turn in a ballot for any person."

She recalled, "Prior law said that you had to be a family member or reside in the same household."

"Well, that was abolished, and it just opened it up to anyone … whether it's a neighbor or whether it's a stranger knocking at your door. So, anyone can turn a ballot in for a voter. And there is no limitation on the number of ballots that you can turn in," Gleason said. 

Jason Yates is the CEO of the advocacy group My Faith Votes, which describes itself as a "non-partisan movement that motivates, equips and activates Christians in America to vote in every election, transforming our communities and influencing our nation with biblical truth." His organization is also encouraging churches to get involved in ballot collection efforts. 

"I agree that we all should be looking at ways that we can leverage what's available to get more people voting," Yates told CP.

He believes that encouraging people to "vote and only vote on polling day at a polling place" ends up "suppressing some of the potential votes that could be brought in."

"Everyone should be taking full advantage of the opportunities that are given to vote, and I think … churches being involved in that process is really important," he added.

Yates cited survey data finding that most born-again Evangelical Christians reported that their churches did nothing to "help or encourage" them to vote as a reason churches should take a more active role in promoting civic participation. 

Gleason says that in light of the "negative connotation" of the term "ballot harvesting," she prefers to use the phrase "ballot collecting."

Yates preferred the term "ballot gathering" to describe what his organization is "encouraging churches to do." He wants to portray activities undertaken by churches as different from "ballot harvesting," which he described as a system where "political operatives are paid to collect [a] large number of ballots."

"My Faith Votes is creating some guides and toolkits for churches" to legally engage in such efforts, he explained. Yates predicted that such material will include "some legal guidance around what they can and can't do" in their particular state and "lay out specific processes that they can follow to make sure that they're abiding by the laws of their particular state." The materials will also include other information "that will help them just encourage people to vote."

Yates anticipates the guides and toolkits will be ready in late 2023 or early 2024. My Faith Votes will also share materials to help people register to vote and promotional videos that churches can play during services talking about the importance of voting.

"[Then we'll lay] out a process that the church can follow to encourage people to bring their ballots … to the church and drop them off there," Yates detailed.

But churches are not allowed to be involved in politics---right?

Churches have every right to encourage congregants to vote. That is a civil right and obligation.


The church is asleep regarding the culture. And that's the problem.

A battle is raging for the heart of this nation. It’s a battle over truth—and how you and I will live out our faith in the public square.

As in the days of Isaiah, we live in a culture that calls evil good and good evil. But our struggle is not against man. We struggle against the lies and division of the spiritual forces of this world.

For years, Christians have bought into the lie that faith is a private matter. As a result, more than 25 million Christians registered to vote do not vote in presidential elections, and as many as 65 million Christians do not vote in local elections.

So, while secular progressives have actively sought to implement a counterfeit worldview at every level of government, Christians have remained quietly inside the church's walls. As a result of apathy at the voting booth and in public life, we’ve suffered devastating moral decay, declining religious freedom, immoral national debt, and the erosion of traditional family values.

Imagine 90 million Christians in America being activated to PRAY, THINK, and ACT on their faith. And when informed Christians vote, they bring the influence of their convictions and beliefs to the public square.

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Engaged. Be Bold. Be Prayerful.