Vote  – you make a difference
Vote – you make a difference
Matthew White
Matthew White
AFA Journal staff writer

November 2021Samuel Adams said, “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote … that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”

For voting to be “one of the most solemn trusts in human society,” an alarmingly large percentage of American citizens abandon that privilege and responsibility.

According to the most recent U.S. Census data, “The 2020 presidential election had the highest voter turnout of the 21st century, with 66.8% of citizens 18 years and older voting in the election.”

That means some 155 million people voted in the presidential election last year. That sounds like a lot, but when one considers the inverse, it means some 80 million did not vote. It is clear there is some work to do.

With midterm elections only a year out, AFA Journal seeks to offer practical steps people can take to ensure they are able to participate and make an informed decision when the day comes to head to the polls.

AFA’s director of policy and legislative affairs, Rob Chambers, spent some time with AFAJ discussing ways people can prepare.

Grasping the basics
“One of the first things those who desire to vote need to do is register to vote,” Chambers began, “one of the most basic steps often overlooked.”

Citizens should also check to ensure they are still eligible, as life changes often affect eligibility.

“If you have simply moved across the street or across town, you may find you are ineligible to vote if you haven’t updated your voter registration,” Chambers said. “Especially if you’ve moved to a different city, you certainly need to update your registration, but in all cases, just double check, make sure you are registered, in the right precinct.”

Additionally, Chambers urges voters not to ignore the primaries, assuming the general election is all that matters.

“The people who vote in the primary election are going to make statistically a larger impact on that election in comparison to the general election,” Chambers explained. “The primary elections are key because that is when it’s determined who is going to be on the ballot in the general.”

Furthermore, being informed about candidates and their views on current policies and issues is paramount. “People need to be educated voters,” Chambers said. “They need to understand who these candidates are and what they believe.”

He points out that it is a good idea to research a candidate’s religious affiliation and beliefs, their platform, their view on human sexuality, and their core beliefs on the Constitution – whether they have a conservative or liberal view of interpreting it.

Chambers cautions, “It’s not only important to know what they believe, but to know if they will vote consistent with those beliefs.” For example, it is not uncommon to hear candidates claim they are personally pro-life, yet they vote for pro-abortion legislation.

It can become a daunting task to learn all these things about a candidate, but fortunately AFA’s governmental affairs affiliate, AFA Action, has a voter guide to help.

“AFA Action sends out surveys for candidates to complete,” Chambers said. “But even if they don’t submit or return a survey with the questions answered, we still have researchers who work to identify where a particular candidate stands.”

The voter guide does not simply rank candidates on how they evaluate themselves.

“Researchers take what candidates say and then compare that with their record,” Chambers explained. “Then they project how they think candidates will vote in the future.”

Ultimately, Chambers is convinced the responsibility falls on the individual to steward his or her vote wisely.

Weeding a garden
“I believe voting to be a civic obligation to participate in elections,” he said, “and with that responsibility I think also comes a great expectation upon the individual voter to exercise due diligence.”

Chambers likens political engagement to caring for a garden. “Our political landscape is much like a garden,” he said. “You have to make a commitment to tend to it, to fertilize it, to water it.

“If you don’t do that, you may have some good plants out there, but the weeds will become overgrown and choke them out.”

Voting is an opportunity to pull the weeds from the political scene. “If voters continue to vote blindly or even not vote at all, they are losing that opportunity,” Chambers said.

Mixing politics and religion
Chambers is concerned that far too many Christians have bought into the idea that there is a sacred realm (religion) and a secular realm (politics), and those two are mutually exclusive.

“That’s a lie,” he said. “Voters need to see that it’s a stewardship issue. Christians want to advance the kingdom, and you don’t advance the kingdom by promoting laws or policies that are antithetical to Christianity.”

Supporting candidates, not parties
Chambers cited the growing divide in the Republican Party.

“On the one hand there is what could be described as the establishment, more globalist friendly and business aligned wing of the party,” he explained. “On the other hand, there is more of a conservative, grassroots wing that is really resonating with people throughout the country.”

This emphasizes the importance of the primaries mentioned earlier.

“You’re going to have a grassroots conservative in the primary,” Chambers continued. “And then you’re going to have a GOP establishment candidate – a Mitt Romney or Mitch McConnell type – and they are going to try to do everything they can in the primary to undermine the grassroots conservative.

“This should be an area of major focus and concern. This is the opportunity to identify the most conservative candidate and weed out the bad.”

Chambers had a word of campaign finance advice for voters: “Do not send money to the GOP, send zero dollars. If you’re going to send any money, send it directly to a candidate who aligns with your values, beliefs, and convictions, as they are also in alignment with scriptural teaching.”

Applying the basics
Beyond the basic responsibility of being an informed voter and exercising that right, concerned citizens can be still more involved by running for public office themselves.

Going back to his garden analogy, Chambers said, “The way to have the best possible garden is to plant it yourself.

“In other words, get involved. If you have strong values, beliefs, and convictions, and you want to ensure a good society or local community, run for school board, run for county supervisor, run for city council, or join the local political club.

“If you want to secure the best future for your children and grandchildren, you have to work at it. You can’t throw seeds out there and think somebody’s going to water, weed, and fertilize them, and then think you’re going to show up having done nothing and enjoy the harvest.”

Chambers concluded, “We have to get out there. Get in that garden of life and make a difference.”  

Being prepared
Visit and sign up to receive AFA Action Alerts once or twice a week about issues the American family is facing and guidance on how to get involved. As the critical 2022 mid-term elections draw near, visit the voter guide to help you in making an informed decision about selecting a candidate you can support.