Our Fifth Principle in Action: Election 2020

Larry LaVerdure urges everyone to vote

November 3, 2020

It’s Election Day, and rather than our usual spotlight on one of the members of our Fellowship, I thought we’d highlight the work of the many people in our congregation who have been working on this election and the related campaigns. Some people did a lot and others did a little, but we each did what we could, and together, it adds up to democracy in action. Each of us are embodying our fifth UU principle, “the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.”
The sheer volume of us who participated in some way is impressive by itself, and even more when you think of the diversity of ages, ability, experience, opinions, and backgrounds. Thank you to everyone who contributed, whether it was by attending protests and rallies, writing postcards, sending letters to the editor, talking to neighbors, family and friends about what matters to you, engaging on social media, lobbying state and federal representatives, donating to bail funds and campaigns, dropping off literature, displaying yard signs, calling and texting voters, serving as precinct leaders or poll monitors, working through non-profit organizations or issue-specific organizations or political parties. Thank you all for supporting the people and causes you believe will make our world a better place, and helping us have a free and fair election.

Below is a sampling of what some of our members did for the election, in no particular order.

Monet Meisman has been volunteering with Green Peace and text banking.

Morgan Sherwood has been making regular calls for her preferred presidential candidate since August, and has been moderating the Slack channel for the national campaign, helping thousands of other volunteers with technology and other challenges. She has been phone banking for Colorado candidates, as well. She’ll be spending ten hours working on election day, chasing down the last few votes before the polls close.

Janet Meyer and Larry Sherwood have financially supported candidates and causes. Janet wrote hundreds of postcards to Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and helped package thousands more for others to write. Janet has been volunteering with Common Cause, monitoring social media for mis- and dis-information about the election. She also did her best to educate her apolitical brother about the differences between the presidential candidates, in hopes that he might make an informed choice when he votes.

Nancy DiLaura participated in text banking for Together Colorado’s push for Ballot Initiative 118 (paid family leave), distributed door hangers and leaflets (yes on 118 and no on 116 & 117) for Together Colorado in Lafayette, and proudly displayed a bumper sticker on her car for her preferred presidential candidate.

Larry Laverdure supported the candidates who align with his values, to the extent his finances allowed.

Carolyn Elliott wrote postcards for the League of Women Voters for National Popular Vote (Prop 113). She e-mailed voters encouraging them to vote (also through League). She Zoomed with a number of friends at their request to clarify all the ballot items, and convinced each one to vote for the NPV (113). She also helped gather signatures for one measure that didn’t get enough signatures to be on the ballot.

Millie and Wynn Montgomery have spoken often and passionately to their family about voting – and are proud to report that they have voted, including some grandchildren who are first time voters. They have sent financial support to candidates of their choice. Millie sent postcards to hundreds of voters in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida telling them how to request an early ballot, etc. She has also sent many postcards to Coloradans with information about voting and about the various issues on our ballot.

Through a friend she met in Juli MacKenzie’s virtual exercise class, Wendie Highsmith wrote postcards to independent voters. Through another friend, she wrote GOTV postcards to people in Miami who had not voted in 2016.

Jean Canella and Elena Slusser asked all the staff at the Y, especially younger staffers, if they registered and voted.

Tonya Accurso did literature drops, text banking, and worked as a poll monitor.

Lu Wright served as poll watcher, made GOTV Texts for Next Gen & Colorado groups including Together Colorado. She’s been asking people to vote, and asking elected officials to protect the vote.

Camille Hook made phone calls for Boulder County NAACP and texted for Next Gen.

Nancy Clarke leafletted for Paid Family Medical leave.

Cindy Beeler did a literature drop for Props. 116, 117, 118 (no, no, yes) in Lafayette for Together CO; did phone calls for GOTV, paid medical leave (yes) and props 116 & 117 (no).

Rosemary Arp circulated a petition and organized petition gathering for a ballot issue that did not get on the Colorado ballot – it was for fair tax. Larry and Rosemary did a literature drop to 75 households of materials on yes on Colorado Prop 118, and no on Prop 116 & 117 thru Together Colorado. Rosemary text banked with Together Colorado on Prop 118 and to GOTV. Also, Rosemary phone banked and text banked with UU the Vote to voters in FL, WI and PA. She was also in the video TC made of BVUUF members voting in Lafayette.

Other than putting up yard signs (and saving them from being blown away by the wind on occasion), Wayne Itano says his contribution to the political process has been researching and making decisions on their political contributions. He is particularly proud of being a generous and early supporter of one presidential candidate, when it seemed that everyone had counted him out. The Itanos supported Senate and Congressional candidates financially, as well. Wayne thinks that contributing to toss-up congressional races can have a bigger impact than contributing to state-wide or national races.

Through UU the Vote and Vote Forward, Hans Jordan wrote letters urging people to vote in this election. Vote Forward volunteers send heartfelt handwritten letters to unregistered and low-propensity voters encouraging them to participate in our democracy. He also attended the Choose Democracy webinar on peacefully countering a coup if needed.

Rev. Lydia was part of making a video with Together CO faith leaders, which is on our BVUUF Facebook page. She did some literature drop in Louisville — for GOTV, paid medical leave (yes) and props 116 & 117 (no). She did GOTV text-banking as well. She’s asking everyone she knows if they’ve voted 🙂 Then, of course, the preaching, encouraging, inspiring that she always does for us.

Through UU the Vote, Joan Mulcahey wrote Vote Forward letters to encourage likely non-voters to vote. She donated to non-partisan organizations that work to get out the vote. She donated to partisan get out the vote organizations. She took the “Choose Democracy” training and donated directly to candidates she favors. She also recruited some non-UU friends to write the Vote Forward letters.

Karen Dike has been working with Sierra Club Independent Action to work on voter turnout in battleground states. She wrote letters, sent texts, and made many calls.

Kathy Partridge led a group of Longmont volunteers who sent out thousands of postcards, and hundreds of Vote Forward letters. She wrote hundreds herself.

She organized and Chaired the Fellowship UU the Vote team of five members. Issued weekly calls to action in Connections Weekly and on the List Serve for UU the Vote phone banks, Vote Forward Letter writing, Together Colorado Literature drops and text banks on ballot measures, and Boulder County NAACP postcard and phone banking. She participated in UU the Vote training events and is now encouraging Fellowship leadership to use UU the Vote tools to access the Fellowship’s readiness to protect the results and rebuild civic life.

Kathy represents BVUUF on the Together Colorado Core Leadership Team. With Rosemary Arp and AnnMarie Jensen, she led 20 Fellowship members to collect ballot measure signatures with two social distant events at BVUUF. She helped invite the Fellowship to the zoom Civic Engagement Rally to kick off the GOTV season (30 Shipmates attended including Board leadership). Many Fellowship members, including Rev. Lydia, have done the lit drop and text banking. She is now part of the organizing of the “Faith Community Response” event for Thursday November 5 at 11 a.m. on Facebook Live.

Kathy co-lead the weekly Longmont Leads with Love Vigil, in support of Black Lives Matter, Green New Deal, and specific candidates. Since July, the vigil has been harassed by gun-bearing counter-protesters. They have tried to creatively use nonviolent tactics to stay peaceful and positive. Now she is organizing Count the Vote events with the Protect the Results national coalition.

Kathy is also the Area Coordinator for her political party. She organizes seven precincts for meetings and GOTV via phone calls, texting, and lit drop.

Mimi Mortimer volunteered with the North Carolina Get Out the Vote Phone Bank. She did so because she felt that the election will be closer there than in Colorado and her daughter who lives in DC is involved with that project and brought her on board. She says it has been very rewarding!

Susan Honstein went to a training with Cecile Richards’ organization, SuperMajority, and learned that the single most effective influencer is someone who knows you. Since then (a year ago), as she listens to everyone she comes into contact with and they raise any concern of theirs, be it raising kids, wild fires, COVID, cost of housing… literally anything, she asks, what they think should be done and then point out, “That is why it is SO important to vote. Your voice matters and it can’t be heard unless you vote!”

This opener has led to many great conversations and has opened the door to her being an ally to getting out lots of votes. When you really listen to others, it often leads to an invitation to share what you know and what you think with them. She goes to events to meet local candidates so she can share an informed opinion and promote their candidacy with undecided voters. Many friends and acquaintances have asked about down ballot candidates and referendums which are as important as the national races.

As soon as the ballots dropped, she began texting friends, family and neighbors to nudge them to fill them out early and get them in. There were a few she had to nudge several times, but all have reported that they have voted. Six of them asked her to go over the voter guide on down ballot stuff. She was very careful and let them know where she was giving fact versus opinion and respected them to make their own choices. These efforts may seem small, but if all of us who are political “junkies” did them, they would surely add up.

She also supports organizations with small monthly contributions that have done great legal work keeping voter suppression tactics at bay, specifically ACLU, NAACP, RAICES, CAIR, SPLC and ADL. Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, and SuperMajority are also doing great GOTV work, and so she supports them, too.

Catharine Harris made phone calls to voters and gave money in support of several candidates.

Deb Schmidt wrote hundreds of postcards, contributed consistently to candidates and campaigns, displayed yard signs for Black Lives Matter and her candidates, and lobbied young people to get out and VOTE.

Kelly LoGiudice participated in at least 4 UU the Vote phone banking sessions.

Marky Lloyd wrote postcards to get out the vote; affixed stamps and mailing labels to postcards supporting National Popular Vote; donated money to purchase materials for getting out the vote postcard project and to various political campaigns.

Marty Frick filled out Get Out the Vote postcards, 10 a week, for 8 months.

Heather Marshall donated money to an organization that helps volunteers mail postcards to voters in swing states. She also donated to two candidates for president during the primaries.

Dave Leonard turned in his mail ballot early and got confirmation from county clerk.

Paul Brynteson began writing a blog and sending it monthly to about 80 family members and friends from the four university communities where he had worked. While not “directly” writing about the election, he wrote essays on democracy, the need for science, religion, the need for “decency” in the public square, and commented on current events. Did it help? Well, at least he felt better that he tried to influence former friends and family.

Constance Holden sent postcards, including some for NAACP Colorado black eligible voters. She sent some postcards to WI, her home state, and posted flyers on doors of people in Louisville, reminding them to vote. She sent money to her preferred presidential candidate and to a number of senatorial candidates. She says she will miss see messages from them on her watch a couple of times a day.

Mary Hubbard has been volunteering with UU the Vote on multiple phone banks so far – mostly PA and WI.

Pete Wernick engaged two people in email conversations about political differences. He’s written/addressed/sent 70 letters to voters in TX and MN, to urge them to vote — making the point that many people have sacrificed, even died, for the right to vote, so I respect those people whenever I vote.

Deborah Mensch sent many hundreds of postcards, hundreds of letters with Vote Forward, did a text banking shift with Together Colorado for 118, and did several text banking and social-media-monitoring shifts with election protection through the nonpartisan Common Cause, which is focused on making sure everyone can vote and every vote is counted. She’ll plans to do more of this before the results are known, probably including some phone banking. And, with help from One Voice singers and congregants who sent in their ballot-drop-off photos, she got the “Vote Your Dream” virtual choir and video to happen.

Maggie Kerrigan sent out letters to folks in Florida, as part of the VoteForward campaign. She voted early, using the drop boxes.

Meri Gibb wrote hundreds of postcards to Arizona and Florida and made phone calls for her political party. She and her husband Paul Gibb gave money to candidates in crucial states as well as nationally.

Jon Holmberg worked on phone banks every Sunday and some Saturdays in September. He is also serving as a Broomfield election supervisor site for this election. He was a Broomfield election worker in the primary.

Besides serving as co-precinct leader doing various Get Out the Vote tasks for her precinct, Mary Headley also wrote postcards to voters in Florida encouraging them to vote by mail.

Annmarie Jensen is a precinct committee person and involved in GOTV. This includes calling people who haven’t voted in several phases to make sure they know deadlines, where to vote, etc. She did texting and phone banking.

Juli MacKenzie has been poll watching, answering the Voter Protection Hotline, sending postcards, and helping friends and families access reliable info about the local issues on the ballot.

Cary and Barb’s main focus has been Get Out the Vote postcards and letters. Every time they would start to get anxious, they would sit down and do another hundred cards. They also attend the Longmont peace vigil on Saturday afternoons. They have yard signs and pens and signs everywhere.

Wanda Saed talked with friend about politics…trying to find a common ground to build upon. She sent two rounds of checks to various Senate and House campaigns. And she talked with neighbors about State of the Union issues to convince them that environmental issues are important.

Carol Pranschke wrote hundreds of Get Out the Vote postcards, bought the stamps and mailed them. She persuaded her 19-year-old to vote for the first time. And she made sure she and her two boys voted and dropped off all their ballots.

Marc Killinger mailed “VOTE” postcards to Florida.

Don Engelstadt did phone banking for his party and for UU The Vote in Wisconsin, where he was a graduate student at UW-Madison for several years.

Rachel and Dave Setzke hosted a backyard, socially distanced letter writing party. All four of us wrote letters to encourage people to vote.

Sue Middleton has courageously been talking with an old friend about politics, even though they are at opposite ends of the political spectrum.

Sheri Price coordinated precinct inquiry for mailed voter information for her party. She sent letters to her Colorado Legislative members to support Ref #114. She volunteered for “Voting Guardian” for CCER (working with Together CO) on election day. And she will work as a poll monitor for Common Cause on election day.

Here is a picture of a banner she made earlier in the summer. It’s been hanging from their upstairs deck since John Lewis died. People come by, stop & read it. If she’s outside, they comment. Others just come by & take a picture.