Pro-Life Groups Place Focus on Voter Registration for 2004 Campaign
by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
July 20, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Election Day 2004 will be critical to the pro-life cause, according to activists who are about to launch a massive drive aimed at making sure that pro-life voters are registered for the November 2 election.
As part of the effort, Focus on the Family is hoping to register more than one million Americans in the next three months.
"Research shows that as many as 56 million Americans won’t be able to vote this Election Day even if they wanted to because they haven’t registered," said Tom Minnery, Focus on the Family’s vice president of government and public policy.
"That’s not the way our founding fathers designed our system of government," Minnery added. "This is a representative democracy, and people must understand that it is worth their time to make sure their views and values are being fully represented."
Focus on the Family has activated a special website, called iVoteValues.org, to help turn Internet surfers into registered voters.
Visitors to the site can register to vote online using a specially designed form. They can also take a quiz which will allow them to see which Presidential candidate best reflects their views on abortion and other hot-button issues.
Minnery noted, "A common excuse used by those who don’t vote is that they think all the candidates are the same. iVoteValues.org is designed to not only give them information about where the candidates really stand, but also to help them identify where they as voters stand — and to show them the importance of casting their ballots for the men and women who share the values they deem important."
The website also includes links to election news, along with guides to the voting process and political jargon. But, according to Focus on the Family, the website is just one element of a broader strategy aimed at family-oriented voters who might otherwise pass up a chance to vote in November.
The organization is offering informational toolkits for churches to build their own voter registration campaigns at the local level. Focus on the Family is also providing voter guides for individual states to help voters select candidates at the state level.
The national group plans meetings for pastors in a half-dozen cities in August and September, along with a mass mailing to as many as 1.6 million people who currently may not be registered to vote.
The coordinator for the voter registration project, Peter Brandt, says the campaign’s slogan — "Elect your future" — is appropriate, given the issues at stake in this year’s election.
"The decisions made by the candidates who win in November, from president on down, will have an impact on every one of us," Brandt said. "From the war on terror, to abortion policy, to the judges nominated to the federal courts, these are critical issues that will shape what our country looks like a generation from now. Can any of us afford to not have a voice in that process?"
Focus on the Family is not the only pro-life organization determined to make a difference in the Presidential sweepstakes.
Priests for Life, the Christian Coalition, and the National Pro-Life Religious Council have been sponsoring "National Christian Voter Registration Sundays" to encourage pro-life adults to become involved in the political process. The next Voter Registration Sunday is scheduled for September 5.
The national director of Priests for Life, Father Frank Pavone, hopes Christian voters will make the pro-life cause their top issue when evaluating candidates.
Those candidates who support legal abortion should not receive the Christian vote, Pavone said.
"Public servants who take a ‘pro-choice’ position contradict Catholic teaching, the Gospel of Christ, and the founding principles of the United States of America," he added.