Living in a democracy is a precious gift, and as Christians we understand ourselves to be stewards of the gifts God has given us. With the right to participate in the political process comes the responsibility to exercise that gift on behalf of the common good.
As we approach the elections of 2016 we again have the opportunity to help shape the public discussion about the goals and values we want expressed in our national, state, and local government. The following statewide elections will be held this year:
- Spring Primary: February 16
- Spring Election and Presidential Preference Primary: April 5
- Partisan Primary: August 9
- General Election: November 8
The Wisconsin Council of Churches offers the following resources to assist you and other members of your congregation in exercising your rights and responsibilities as voters.
New Wisconsin Voter ID Requirement
Learn what you need to bring with you to the polls in order to be allowed to vote, and how to get a free WI state ID card if you need one, at Bring It to the Ballot
2016 Voter Education Guide
Review 11 things your congregation can do to help its members learn about the candidates and issues, encourage voter registration, raise the level of public dialogue, and exercise faithful citizenship.
Download a 2016 Voter Education Guide in PDF format.
Election Year Bulletin Insert
Download a bulletin insert for your congregation that includes:
- A statement on voting as a Christian responsibility;
- Helpful information for the 2016 elections;
- Ten principles to consider when deciding how to vote; and
- A prayer for the election and our elected leaders.
The insert is available in both PDF and editable Word formats. Simply print or copy the insert double-sided, and cut in half. You can also cut and paste text from the insert into your church newsletter or website.
Additional Voter Resources
Wisconsin Government Accountability Board
Campaign and Candidate Information
- Wisconsin Votes, from Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television
- WisconsinEye: Campaign 2016 – Watch in-depth candidate interviews, debates, and forums
Rules for Political Activity by Religious Organizations
- “Preaching Politics From the Pulpit: 2012 Guide to IRS Rules on Political Activity by Religious Organizations,” Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life
- Guidelines for Congregations and Clergy on Political Action from the United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries
- IRS Guidelines on Election Year Activities
Faith, Values and Public Issues
- NEW Voter’s Guide for Economic Justice 2016 from the Dignity at Work Coalition – Wisconsin covers child care, paid family and medical leave, minimum wage, private sector retirement security, and transportation funding, and non-emergency transportation brokerage.
- NEW Faith, Values and the 2016 Election: Toward a Politics of the Golden Rule is a reflection guide for voters from Faith in Public Life. Issues covered include: economic inequality; global warming; immigration; gun violence; restorative and racial justice; and national security.
- NEW Vote to End Hunger is a broad coalition of individuals and organizations all committed to asking candidates for public office in the 2016 election: “If elected, what will you do to end hunger, alleviate poverty, and create opportunity in the US and worldwide?” Learn how you can become involved.
- NEW Presidential Candidate Video Statements on Poverty. Produced in response to a request by 100 Christian leaders, these videos are presented by Circle of Protection without comment or endorsement. A study guide is available.
- NEW Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – “ELCA Votes” – including “Called to Be a Public Church,” “Voting Rights and Racial Justice,” and “Movement into Action.”
- United Church of Christ – “Our Faith, Our Vote”
- Faithful Citizenship: A Response to the Scandal of Poverty in Wisconsin, a statewide sign-on letter issued in 2014 by over 1000 persons of faith, addressed to candidates for public office.