Tues., Nov. 6 is Election Day. Where will you be? If you plan to attend the annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina in Greensboro, you could forfeit your vote. Of course, you can – and should – plan to vote early. Your vote is important.
If your work, family responsibilities or other plans are likely to place you many miles from your polling place on Nov. 6, you can still insure the influence of your vote on your county, state and nation.
There are two options you need to consider. You can take advantage of early voting or cast an absentee ballot.
It is important to vote, so here is the information you need to know:
- Be sure you are registered to vote. The last day you can register to vote is Oct. 12.
- Early voting in North Carolina begins Oct. 18 and ends Nov. 1.
- If you want to vote by absentee ballot, your application for the ballot must be mailed by Oct. 30. Your absentee ballot must be submitted by mail no later than Nov. 5.
- If you have heard the discussions about “Voter ID” laws, you may be confused about the necessity of proper identification. This is all you need to know: No photo ID is required to vote.
- If you need to confirm that you are registered to vote, contact your board of elections, secure an absentee ballot, locate your polling place or identify the candidates in your precinct, visit ncvoterguide.org or ncsbe.gov. These are government websites.
- If you would like to learn the views of candidates, the North Carolina Family Policy Council provides a list of the candidates for public office at local, state and federal levels. They also publish a voter guide on major moral issues. Visit their website and order voter guides for your church or Bible study group at ncfamilyvoter.com.
In the Sept. 22 issue of the Biblical Recorder a guest column on page 3 appealed to our readers to be an informed voter in the coming election. If you missed this urgent request by Ray Waldbusser, please read it.
Another source for insights on Christians’ moral responsibility to vote is Daniel Darling’s excellent blog on the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s (ERLC) website on Feb 1, 2016. Darling, vice-president for communications at ERLC, gave three reasons why every American Christian should vote.
I want to summarize his main points with a few of my own personal comments.
Darling said he understands the temptation toward disengagement in the voting process, but believes every Christian should vote. I agree with him.
First, “We should vote out of love for neighbor.” No matter our geographical home, we live in a mission field. Most of our neighbors do not know Jesus as Savior and Lord. Don’t expect them to take a high moral position on values that shape the social and political climate of the nation. That’s our job. When we vote, we model the values of the Christian faith and we foster a climate for the gospel to spread freely within our communities.
Second, Darling said, “We should vote because God has given us a stewardship for which we will be held accountable.” Yes, we will be held accountable for the actions we take and the actions we deliberately fail to do. We are called to “render to Caesar, the things that are Caesar’s.” I realize Jesus said that in answer to a question about taxes. But surely no one believes paying taxes is our only responsibility to government. The Bible tells us to pray for those in government and other places of leadership. We should also exercise our influence for good in a broken, corrupt world.
Third, “We should vote because it can help speak up for the vulnerable and help gospel advance.” Can you think of anyone in our culture who is more vulnerable than the unborn child? That human being, made in the image of God, has no vote and no way to protect himself. He or she needs you to speak for them. We must elect pro-life candidates to office.
Please prepare to vote and please make every effort to vote. Be informed and pray for every voter to do what is right.
Hurricane Florence appeal
I received this important appeal from Richard Brunson, director of N.C. Baptists on Mission: Mud out and tear out teams are needed following Hurricane Florence. There are thousands of homes in Eastern N.C. that were damaged by Hurricane Florence. We need you and your church or civic group to come and help people do mud outs and tear outs of homes that were flooded. We have 15 different sites that are coordinating these efforts. Please sign up at baptistsonmission.org. Please help these hurting people.