Letter from Johnnie Moore,
former vice president of Liberty University
To Christian University and College Presidents, Provosts and Deans,
I’m writing you because I am concerned that Christian College Students are going to sit out from the more than 10,000 elections happening this fall in our nation, and I think you can do something about it.
The results of this year’s midterm elections will be enormously important — not just for national policy, but because of the leaders who will be elected at the local and state level. These leaders will pass policy and make laws that will fundamentally effect our communities.
Voting is always a priority - if you ask me, a moral obligation! - but it’s especially a priority this year for Millennials and Generation Z. After all, they will be the ones most affected. It’s their future we are deciding.
Did you know millennials are now the generation with the largest number of eligible voters in the U.S. – roughly 69.2 million – and also the generation with the lowest voter participation? The problem of low millennial turnout is compounded by the lack of participation by evangelicals in elections, period. On average, 25 million Christians do not vote in Presidential elections, and it is estimated over 51 million Christians will fail to vote in the elections this year.
The involvement of Christian college students in these upcoming elections is critical.
While the next generation tend to be written off as the “me” generation, we know they actually do care about our country’s future. We also know they can make a big difference in an election.
I’ve seen them do it before.
In 2012 at Liberty University (where I worked for twelve years and was the senior vice president) we decided to register our student body to vote, locally. The university was struggling with local government officials ignoring the economic impact our students were making on the community, and therefore choosing to allocate resources as if our student body didn’t exist at all.
In that election, we registered thousands of students.
The city fought us, but the ACLU joined with Liberty University (you’ve rarely seen those two organizations in the same sentence!) in arguing that our students had the right to register in Lynchburg, Virginia because they were living there for most of the year. They were paying sales tax and had residency in their dormitories.
I’ll never forget that November day, when all the local precincts had turned their votes in except for Liberty University. Our precinct was late because the voting lines circled the block. I stood there all day and gave a high five to every student that voted. It was a moment of civic exuberance!
Our precinct was the last to be counted because of the massive turn-out.
In the end, the Liberty precinct turned the election. While we had made a point not tell them who to vote for (obviously, we couldn’t and wouldn’t), we watched as the students chose to vote out a candidate who had punished the school, repeatedly. They voted in a local official that supported their local rights.
It was a dramatic turn of events. Literally — their precinct turned the election. The whole community erupted in excitement. Our students saw the power of their votes!
Liberty’s student participation had a direct impact on their university life – zoning rights were returned to the school and a pedestrian bridge for students’ safety was built (across a road where multiple students had been hit by cars).
Let’s just say … the city became our friend, again!
Because in America - every vote matters. Democracy works.
Because the young men and women of our country have the power to make a significant difference through their vote, I am asking you to encourage your students to participate in our get-out-the-vote initiative “Because I Care... I Think. I Pray. I Vote.” – designed specifically for students on Christian campuses.
We are willing to provide tools and materials – at no cost to your university – from a non-partisan, biblical perspective for students to become educated and engaged in the 2018 elections.
We will help you guide students on how to register to vote, digitally remind them to vote as the time approaches, send sample ballots to their phones, and even pay the registration postage for their forms to make sure they are registered and ready for November.
Our ultimate purpose is to encourage students to first pray, then think, and finally vote this November. We are not interested in telling them who to vote for. But, we must call them to vote, and we must remind them to show up. We can also help them get educated.
I am asking you join us in this initiative. When you do, we will work with you and student representatives on your campus to:
Send out an email to your students, encouraging voter participation from a biblical perspective. Your students can receive all of our technology tools at www.becauseicare.us
Place the "Because I Care" voting flyers in student mailboxes or student union buildings.
Display our voting initiative posters on campus.
Schedule 3-5 minutes at Chapel or during school assembly to show a "Because I Care" video or to listen to one of our speakers.
Distribute “Because I Care” flyers and wristbands to your student body.
The technology voting tools, posters, flyers, video and wristbands will all be provided to your University free of cost.
If students are informed and prepared, they can truly make a difference this year. If you have any questions - including legal concerns - please feel free to write, and we - at My Faith Votes - will be happy to help.
But, you have to act FAST. The November election is just around the corner.
My Faith Votes, National Spokesperson
Former Senior Vice President, Liberty University
Founder, The KAIROS Company