elections

Historic Elections: But Why?

The results of yesterday's elections are historic in many obvious ways. Unlike 1994, Virginians participated in making that history by turning over three liberal incumbent members of the House of Representatives (see Washington Post), including a 28-year veteran previoulsy thought unbeatable, someone who hadn't had a competitive race in years. So we congratulate three friends of The Family Foundation who won their races yesterday and are on their way to Congress:

» Congressman-elect Morgan Griffith (Newsweek's The Gaggle blog), a 100 percent TFF voter as a member of the House of Delegates;

» Congressman-elect Robert Hurt (Danville Register & Bee), a 91 percent TFF voter as a member of the Virginia Senate; and

» Congressman-elect Scott Rigell (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot), a donor to our organization.

In the 11th district, liberal incumbent Gerry Connolly has a narrow lead over conservative challenger Keith Fimian, a vote likely to be recounted (Wall Street Journal Washington Wire blog). Pending that outcome, eight of Virginia's 11 Representatives are Republican. We were pleased to participate in the voter education and get-out-the-vote efforts in these districts. Some of you may have received our GOTV phone calls over the weekend.

In some ways, though, the elections went beyond politics. While the national and state media focus on Congressional outcomes, something happened a bit below the surface that is even more historic — and perhaps longer term.

For example, at least 19 state legislative bodies, including those in Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Iowa, North Carolina and Ohio flipped partisan control to Republicans (John Hood at National Review's The Corner blog and Ryan Beckwith at CQ Politics' The Eye blog). In fact, the North Carolina Legislature is Republican for the first time since 1870. The Alabama legislature is Republican for the first time since 1876.

I don't tell you that to trumpet Republicans, but because our sister family policy council organizations inform us that many of those elected yesterday support pro-family policies. These organizations ran campaigns similar to our Winning Matters 2009 program and saw pro-life, pro-family candidates win across the board. More important than simply electing people of one particular party, citizens in these states elected pro-family conservatives.

Possibly more telling, voters in Iowa defeated three Supreme Court judges instrumental in imposing homosexual marriage on that state against the will of the people via judicial fiat (New York Times). It is the first time since judges have been on the ballot in Iowa (1962) that they have been defeated on Election Day. Once again, when the issue of marriage is put to the people, traditional marriage wins.

Now, the question is, will the message sent by the voters yesterday carry over into next year's crucial Virginia Senate elections? Will party leaders get the message that motivates voters and give us candidates that are unapologetically pro-life and pro-family? Will Virginia follow the lead of other states that brought wholesale change to their legislatures? Will party leaders endorse incumbents for the sake of "party unity" or listen to the voters? Time will tell if they truly got the message.

Thank You And Happy Thanksgiving

All of us at The Family Foundation of Virginia hope that you will spend time with your loved ones and friends this Thanksgiving. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to reflect on the abundance of grace and mercy that is poured out on each of us each year by our loving God. In the many battles we face, and in a culture where our values seem to be slipping away, it is often difficult to find joy and thankfulness. Yet, we are incredibly blessed in so many ways. Simply being alive, having the opportunity to serve our God, to live in a land that is free — still — and having family and friends to love are just some of the things we too often take for granted.

This year, we at The Family Foundation have much for which to be thankful. While many will first think of the recent elections where pro-family candidates were victorious, our gratitude goes far beyond those results. For one, we can never express enough how thankful we are for our supporters. This year, despite the difficult economy, donors to The Family Foundation helped make Winning Matters an unquestioned success. Add to that the nearly 1,300 people who attended our Annual Gala with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and we can truly say that God supplied for our needs in remarkable ways in 2009.

We also are extremely thankful for our army of volunteers, both those who guide or work through our local grassroots networks, and those who help us here in the office or at various events. Incredibly, volunteers sacrificially gave more than 1,000 hours of their time in our headquarters this year! From stuffing envelopes for mailings, helping distribute nearly 900,000 Voter Guides, to making thousands of phone calls, the help given by these volunteers can simply not be measured. We could not have had a successful Winning Matters campaign, nor Gala, without these selfless individuals. The Family Foundation — Board and staff — offer our collective heartfelt thanks.

We also are thankful for the challenges God places in our path. It is only through those hard times that we truly place our trust in Him and mature in our faith. Together, we face many challenges — culturally and politically. But it is for just this time that God has placed us in this Commonwealth. He chose us to be here to fight for our liberties when they are in peril. That is an honor for which we can truly be thankful.

Again, we thank you for your support of The Family Foundation. May God bless you abundantly this Thanksgiving!

The 10th Amendment Disconnect

I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Bob Holsworth (Virginia Tomorrow) speak Monday night about the recent elections. He is the best political analyst in Virginia in my opinion and his insights on campaigns and strategies never fail to enlighten. He said that one of the many aspects where the Creigh Deeds campaign (as well as the Wagner and Shannon campaigns) fell short was in its inability to respond to the federal issues — card check, cap-and-trade, nationalized health care — Republican Bob McDonnell repeatedly raised as not only an intrusion into Virginians' sovereignty, but as harmful to Virginians themselves —their prosperity, opportunity, way of life, health. In other words, upholding the 10th Amendment, which leaves to the states all powers not specifically delineated to the federal government.

Senator Deeds couldn't dis President Barack Obama, who historically carried Virginia last year, and turn off the liberal Democrat base and its newly energized voters, by opposing those signature liberal issues. So the best he could do was assert they had nothing to do with running the commonwealth. Dr. Holsworth said Deeds' inability to satisfactorily deal with this dynamic pleased no one — crucial independents, who broke overwhelmingly to the GOP, nor the base.

Who am I to disagree with Dr. Bob? But I want to add that it was more than that. Defending one's state against the onslaught of the federal leviathan is a constitutional charge. So it is a legitimate issue. But Senator Deeds, reflective of today's ingrained liberalism, at the very least couldn't respond to the issues because he doesn't understand the 10th Amendment. Doubtful. So that leaves the worst, but more likely, case — a total disregard for it. When state politicians become too comfortable accepting mandates and force-fed programs from Washington, which stunt states from their roles as democratic laboratories and distinctly different places to live, they deserve to lose. Indeed, federal issues always have and always will be integral to state issues because the constitutional relationship of states to the national government demands it.  

Prepare And Inform Yourself (And Others). Then On Tuesday, Vote.

Regardless of who you intend to vote for on Tuesday, polls showing large gaps in the statewide races are no excuse to not vote. Every pro-family, pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-traditional values Virginian must take the responsibility of voting seriously and exercise that sacred freedom at every opportunity. We urge you to ignore the polls and news stories and vote on Tuesday. The Family Foundation has produced one million non-partisan Voter Guides to educate voters for this year’s elections so that citizens can be prepared when they vote. If your church has yet to distribute these guides, we urge you to contact us at 804-343-0010 so we can get them to you in time. Sunday is the last opportunity to educate your fellow church members concerning where candidates stand on pro-family issues.

Please click here to review the statewide Voter Guide that includes the races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Read the Voter Guide and study where the candidates stand. Also, please forward this blog post link to your family and friends and on your social networking sites, so others can be informed.

We also urge you to watch our online Video Voter Guide and share it as well. You can even  download it to a disk to show at your church. This is another way in which we are trying to educate Virginians prior to this year’s crucial elections.

Samuel Adams, one of our nation’s leading Founding Fathers, said:

Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote . . . that he is executing on of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.

We I trust that you will vote on Tuesday, and that your vote will reflect your values.

Voter Registration Deadline This Monday Afternoon!

This coming Monday, October 5, is the last day to register to be eligible to vote in the November election. If you are not registered, or if you have recently moved, be sure to go to your local voter registrar’s office and register to vote. You may also download the Virginia voter registration from the State Board of Elections’ Web site by clicking here. All eyes are on Virginia and New Jersey this November, as the only two states with statewide elections. The outcomes will be crucial and it is vital that your voice is heard. Will Virginia continue down the path of secular progressivism, the seeds of which are being planted by the Obama Administration, or will we say, "enough is enough," and return to the proven principles of freedom, respect for life, traditional marriage and smaller, limited government? We are blessed in this nation to be able to choose our governmental leaders. We must do all that we can to ensure that we elect men and women who understand that the greatness our nation is in its Judeo-Christian foundation and that we must uphold those principles if we are to remain a great nation.

If you already are registered to vote, make sure your friends and family members also are registered. Offer to take them to the registrar’s office or help them download the registration form (you can also register at places such as libraries and the DMV). If possible, hold a voter registration drive in your church this Sunday.

Four years ago, the Attorney General’s race was decided by just 360 votes. Every vote counts!

In addition, the military deadline is approaching as well! If you are a Virginia resident serving in the military outside of the commonwealth or have a son or daughter deployed who needs to register, military personnel may use the Federal Post Card Application to register to vote and apply for an absentee ballot both at the same time. The application must be received by the local registrar by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 5. There is a provision for these to be faxed or e-mai as well as through the U.S. Postal Service. For more information, click here for the Virginia State Board of Elections page on the military.

Register To Vote

Recently, a published statistic astonishingly indicated that nearly 60 percent of church going Virginians are not registered to vote! How can we expect to change the political culture in our commonwealth and nation if we don't even bother to take part in elections? To encourage more citizens to vote, The Family Foundation of Virginia is urging you to make sure you are registered to vote in this year's elections, and then ask your church leadership to hold a voter registration drive in your church over the next two Sundays.  The Family Foundation's goal is to register 30,000 Virginians during this period because the voter registration deadline for this November's crucial election (or to have voter registration applications postmarked) is Monday, October 6. So, we urge you to act immediately since that date is only a couple of weeks away.  

To register yourself, simply download this pdf form at the State Board of Elections Web site, fill it out and mail it to the State Board of Elections at: 200 N. 9th Street/Suite 101/Richmond, VA 23219.

Voter registration at your church is simple. The following are some ideas for running an effective voter registration drive at a church:

Sunday School Or Group Initiative:

Print the State Board of Elections voter registration form at the above link and make copies. Delegate the distribution of these voter registration applications to every individual in a Sunday school class, study group or ministry meeting. This can be done by the distribution of applications by the teacher or facilitator to each individual once the group has assembled; or through the placement of an application in each attendee's chair before the start of the meeting.

The teacher or facilitator then can provide an opportunity for those who are unregistered to fill out the application and return it to a designated person at the end of the session. This designated "collector" then can mail the completed applications to the State Board of Elections.

Church Or Attendee Wide Initiative:

Delegate the distribution of voter registration applications to every individual attending  each worship service on Sunday. This may be done either by the placement of a voter registration application in every available seat; through usher/greeter distribution as attendees enter the church; or through distribution at a designated point in the service. 

The senior or lead pastor, or designated spokesperson, then can highlight the presence of the applications and encourage the completion of them by every unregistered voter in the congregation. Upon completion of the voter registration applications, they may be collected in whatever format seems most efficient and effective for the particular circumstance and congregation. The person designated as responsible for them can then send them to the State Board of Elections.

Please note: The "Church Or Attendee Wide Initiative" is the most effective form of securing the largest amount of Voter Registration Applications. Other forms are effective, but do not hit the largest audience available in a church's congregation. 

Voter registration drives are well inside the boundaries of the law, and are not party oriented. For a church to conduct a voter registration drive is nothing more than an encouragement of its members to be actively engaged citizens as Paul promotes in the book of Romans.

If you are interested in a sample bulletin insert to encourage people in your church to register to vote, we can provide it. Just let us know as soon as possible. (Click here for our contact information.) (For more information on voter registration, including key links to the State Board of Elections Web site, click here.) Participating in an election is a special freedom. We hope you will make sure you are registered to vote and to encourage others to speak their voices as well by voting on November 4.