In the final weeks before Election Day, a coalition of churches representing about 1 million Minnesota Christians has jumped into the fight against the proposed voting amendment, citing many of the same concerns opponents have been campaigning on for months.
The Minnesota Council of Churches announced Tuesday that it would be working to block the amendment, which would require voters to present a photo ID at the polls and could drastically alter the state’s current election system.
The group is concerned about the measure’s potential effects on those on the fringes of society, such as the poor, disabled and elderly.
“If there ever was a reason to vote, the time is now. Vote to save the right to vote,” the Rev. Peg Chemberlin, executive director of the MCC, said at a press conference outside of Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis.
“The Voter ID amendment seems innocuous enough, but when we start to unwrap all that it means, we begin to see the threat this could pose to the right to vote for tens of thousands.”
The MCC joins another multi-faith coalition of religious groups that announced an opposition campaign last month. Although polling has improved for opponents of the amendment since then, it’s still an uphill battle to Nov. 6.
Chemberlin said members of the churches would be directed to the official anti-amendment campaign, Our Vote Our Future, although the MCC is not an official partner.
She also said the group would employ direct mailings and encourage conversations within churches to oppose the amendment. Chemberlin downplayed the potential discord that taking an official position against the ballot question could cause, and said she’s excited for “vigorous debate.”
Bishop Peter Rogness, president of the MCC, also stressed the churches’ near-unanimous support for working against the amendment.
“There is a fundamental value issue in play that led us to stand up even though we know there is a variety of opinions … around the state.”
The MCC represents the following denominations: African Methodist Episcopal Church, American Baptist Churches USA, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church of God in Christ, Church of the Brethren, The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Mennonite Church, Moravian Church, National Association of Congregational Christian Churches, National Baptist Convention, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church.