The Ohio Voter Rights Coalition’s Faith Committee focuses on connecting with our faith communities to increase outreach to congregants around Ohio. We actively work with our partners in the Faith community year round to expand our efforts and base within this landscape so we can ensure that necessary voting information is reaching the audience of every congregation. Our ultimate goal is to connect more with non-Christian faith groups in the future.
Peacekeepers at the Polls
Our society and political landscape has become more divisive and partisan than ever before. In situations of anxiety, tensions can easily rise. To keep voters safe, we must be prepared to de-escalate intimidating actors. We believe that faith leaders and social workers are uniquely and ideally situated to act as Peacekeepers and can maintain a calm and peaceful presence that will help defuse tensions which may otherwise lead to conflict.
In 2020, we piloted a new Peacekeepers at the Polls program to proactively address threats of intimidation and violence at the polls. We partnered with our faith network to activate religious leaders to be on call to de-escalate tense situations and keep everyone safe at the polls. Coordinators of the Peace Keeper program included: Crazy Faith Ministries, Faith in Public Life, the Ohio Council of Churches, and Universalist Unitarian Justice Ohio. We also utilized NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio and Planned Parenthood to recruit abortion clinic escorts, as well as the Ohio affiliate of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW-OH) to recruit social workers in this effort. Together we successfully trained over 150 Peacekeeping volunteers from across the state and deployed them to early vote centers and polling locations as we learned of planned rallies or received reports of intimidating behavior. They were helpful in acting as a buffer between voters and harassing conduct, particularly at the Franklin County Early Vote Center, where anti-abortion protesters were intimidating voters.
Our Peacekeeper Program in the Media
Toledo Blade. November 13, 2022
ABC 6. November 1, 2022.