VOTE FAITHFULLY – Guidance from The Beloved Community

It is a Christian obligation to vote, and more than that, it is the church’s responsibility to help get souls to the polls.” – Presiding Bishop Michael Curry


In a democracy, voting rights are fundamental to the dignity of every citizen, and the free practice of that right is necessary for the establishment of justice. We have an obligation through our Baptismal Covenant to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.”


There is a Primary Election coming up on August 6. Candidates on the ballot include individuals vying for their party’s nomination for United States Senate and House of Representatives, Tennessee Senate and House of Representatives, and a variety of local and municipal offices.The COVID-19 pandemic presents unique challenges to voting safely. Voting by mail (absentee voting) is the safest option.

“Pursuant to the June 4, 2020 order of the Davidson County Chancery Court, if you are a registered voter and do not wish to vote in person due to the COVID-19 situation, you are eligible to request an absentee ballot by mail.” – Tennessee Secretary of State. Complete information about absentee voting (voting by mail) in Tennessee is at the Secretary of State’s website https://sos.tn.gov/products/elections/absentee-voting.

Basically, there are two steps to Absentee Voting:


    1) Contact the Election Commission in your county to request the absentee ballot. You may print a request form from the website or simply provide the required information on a piece of paper and mail or fax it back to the Commission. Since it is a primary election, you must indicate which ballot you want – Republican, Democrat, or County General Only. The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot is July 31. However, given the time it takes to mail it back and forth, we strongly advise you to request your ballot as soon as possible.


    2) When your ballot arrives in the mail, complete it per the attached instructions and mail it back to the Election Commission in the envelope provided. Your completed ballot must be received via US postal mail by 7:00pm on August 6 in order to be counted.


Please know that the focus of this article is on voting by mail. You may also vote in person on Early Voting days and on Election Day, August 6. We will provide guidance about that in a future article.If you would like to take a deeper dive into this issue, the National Church provides a toolkit called Vote Faithfully. https://episcopalchurch.org/files/ogr_vote_faithfully_2020_election_toolkit.pdf.


Questions and concerns may be directed to Sally Carlson-Bancroft at sjcbancroft@gmail.com, Member, Voting Subcommittee, The Beloved Community: The Commission for Racial Reconciliation.

Election Commission websites for the most populous counties encompassed by the Diocese:


Davidson County  https://www.nashville.gov/ElectionCommission.aspx

Williamson County         https://www.williamsoncounty-tn.gov/40/Election-Commission

Rutherford County         https://election.rutherfordcountytn.gov/

Montgomery County      https://mcgtn.org/election