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We are blessed to have a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” But democracy has one key requirement: our participation. Election Day is November 4. The deadline to register to vote is October 14. There are many contested races, including local, statewide and presidential. There are also two culture-altering ballot questions. Visit www.VoteValuesMA.com for more information on the November 4 election and its impact on you and your family.

This Tuesday, October 14, is the last day to register to vote in the General Election on November 4. If you are not registered to vote, or you are unsure as to your registration status, be sure to visit your local town or city clerk’s office by Wednesday. Voter registration forms are also available online, but keep in mind the deadline is Tuesday, October 14. For more information, visit www.VoteValuesMA.com/registration.

In addition to casting ballots for state offices, you will be asked to vote on [four] ballot questions. [description]

People of faith, grounded in moral truth, must be prepared to discern those candidates best able to uphold moral values. Massachusetts Family Institute has prepared detailed Voter Guides for the contested elections on November 4. Visit www.VoteValuesMA.com to find out where local, state and presidential candidates stand on issues important to you.

November 4

Tuesday is Election Day. Most polls are open from 7am until 8pm. The most basic element of democracy is voting, yet it can have the most profound impact. When you vote, you help determine who will lead our nation, make our laws and protect our liberties. People of faith, grounded in moral truth, must be prepared to discern those candidates best able to uphold moral values. For more information on the candidates, the ballot questions, and where to vote, visit www.VoteValuesMA.com.


Legal Guidelines

Yes, there are legal limits to what you may do, but your hands are not completely tied. In fact, you may be surprised at how much influence you can have.

Here are some straightforward guidelines (from iVoteValues.org):

What a Church May Do

Good question! Many are confused about what is and what is not legal given the IRS restrictions on political activity by tax-exempt organizations. While it is impossible to lay out a definitive list of do’s and don’ts since the IRS interprets what is and isn’t legal, the resource below is offered for general guidelines:

Legal Dos and Don’ts Church
Sermons on moral and social issues and civic involvement Yes
Endorsing or opposing political candidates No
Educate on political process and political/social/legislative issues Yes
Contributions to Political Action Committees No
Distribution of candidate surveys and incumbent voting records (avoid editorial opinions and make sure they cover a wide range of issues) Yes
Church bulletin editorial where the pastor or staff member endorses or opposes a candidate No
Encourage members to voice their opinions in favor or in opposition to certain legislation Yes*
Campaigning for candidates No
Discuss biblical instruction pertaining to moral and cultural issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, etc. Yes
Fundraising for candidates No
Support or oppose judicial, department, or cabinet appointments Yes
Granting use of name to support a political candidate No
Support or oppose other political appointments of non-elected officials Yes
Support or oppose judicial candidates No
Use of church facilities by political candidates (as long as all other candidates are allowed or invited) Yes
Contributions to political candidates No
In-kind and independent expenditures for or against political candidates No
Petition drives supporting or opposing legislation Yes
Support or oppose legislation unrelated to the church organization Yes*
Support or oppose legislation that directly relates to the organization Yes**
Engage in voter registration activities that avoid promoting any one candidate or particular political party. Yes

*Churches and other 501(c)(3) organizations may support or oppose legislation so long as such activity comprises an insubstantial part of the overall operation. 501(c)(4) organizations may support or oppose legislation without any limitations.

**A church or any other 501(c)(3) organization may without limitation support or oppose legislation that directly affects the organizational structure and operation. For example, a church may without limitation oppose legislation attempting to repeal the tax exempt status of the church.

Adapted from resources provided by: Alliance Defense Fund, American Center for Law and Justice and Liberty Counsel

What a Pastor May Do

Good question! Many are confused about what is and what is not legal given the IRS restrictions on political activity by tax-exempt organizations. While it is impossible to lay out a definitive list of do’s and don’ts since the IRS interprets what is and isn’t legal, the resource below is offered for general guidelines:

Legal Do’s and Don’ts Pastor
Preach on moral and social issues and encourage civic involvement. Yes
Endorse candidates on behalf of the church. No
Engage in voter registration activities that avoid promoting any one candidate or particular political party. Yes
Use church funds or services (such as mailing lists or office equipment) to contribute directly to candidates or political committees. No
Distribute educational materials to voters (such as voter guides), but only those that do not favor a particular candidate or party and that cover a wide range of issues. Yes
Permit the distribution of material on church premises that favors any one candidate or political party. No
Conduct candidate or issues forums where each duly qualified candidate invited and provided an equal opportunity to address the congregation. Yes
Use church funds to pay fees for political events. No
Set up a political committee that would contribute funds directly to political candidates. No
Allow candidates to solicit funds while speaking in a church. No
Invite candidates or elected officials to speak at church services. Churches that allow only one candidate or a single partys candidate to speak can be seen as favoring that candidate or party. No candidate should be prohibited from addressing a church if others running for the same office have been allowed to speak. Exempt from this are candidates or public figures who may speak at a church, but they must refrain from speaking about their candidacy. Yes

Adapted from resources provided by: Alliance Defense Fund, American Center for Law and Justice and Liberty Counsel