iVoteValues.com rig to greet fans during NASCAR weekend
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--When the nearly 160,000 fans pour into tiny Bristol, Tenn., for this week’s NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway, they can do more than watch Jimmie Johnson battle Jeff Gordon for the lead in the NEXTEL Cup Series -- they also can register to vote and learn about the importance of voting their values come Election Day.
While the iVoteValues.com mobile voter registration rig and information center won’t be in the pits at the speedway, it will be located in the parking lot of the Bristol Wal-Mart Supercenter store.
The truck began its journey to visit towns across the United States at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Indianapolis in June. The rig is painted in a striking red, white and blue patriotic motif designed to catch the attention of passersby. Inside the trailer are interactive resources designed to aid voters in appreciating the importance of voting and the necessity of considering what the Bible has to say on the issues when contemplating which candidates to support.
More than 17,000 people have gone through the truck through the first week of August, with thousands registering to vote and thousands more who already were registered pledging to vote their values in November. As part of the iVoteValues initiative, nearly 230,000 national voter registration forms have been distributed.
The truck made a stop in Port Deposit, Md., Aug. 26 as part of a Reviving America to Reclaim America rally at Pleasant View Baptist Church, where Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Richard Land was among the speakers. The day before, the rig was in Raleigh, N.C., where it sparked a lengthy newspaper article that was then carried by the Associated Press. A week earlier, the rig made a stop at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.
While the truck is a very visible part of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s iVoteValues.com initiative, the effort also is making a mark on the Internet. More than 65,000 Internet users have visited www.iVoteValues.com, which has resources for pastors and churches among its other features.
The unique website provides facts on voting, a glossary of election-year lingo, guidelines on how 501(C)(3) groups, like most churches, can be appropriately involved in electoral activities in accord with IRS regulations, and much more.
Responses to the website have been overwhelmingly positive, Land said. He quoted a visitor from Georgia who went to the site and e-mailed the ERLC, writing, “This is just what I’ve been looking for to try to do my part to get out the vote this year. I’m going to send the website address to my friends who forward EVERYTHING to EVERYBODY -- maybe it will take on a life of its own!”
“A person from Texas writing us called iVoteValues.com ‘the perfect tool’ for citizens who are concerned about the state of our nation,” Land continued.
The initiative also offers Voter Impact Toolkits to churches wanting to educate their membership and citizens in their community on the concept of values-based voting. The kit is an “out of the box solution,” Land said, noting the product includes resources to aid a group in setting up a voter registration and awareness event.
The deadline for voter registration in most states is rapidly approaching, Land said, noting, “This is a date eligible citizens who aren’t registered shouldn’t allow to come and go without action on their part.” Individuals should contact their local county clerks or visit www.fec.gov/elections.html to determine their state’s cutoff date to register to vote in the November elections, he said.
Another element of the iVoteValues.com initiative will be rolled out in late September -- a nonpartisan issue-by-issue comparison of the two major political party platforms.
The handouts will examine each party’s views on some of America’s most important public policy and ethical issues in order to help individuals determine which candidate best represents their values and convictions. The resource, which sold out after three printings in 2000, will be an eight-page, full-color mini-magazine this year.
“Underneath all the rhetoric that appears native to a presidential campaign, there are real issues that impact our families and the future of our country,” Land said. “It is important that voters recognize these issues and determine where the candidates stand on them and then vote their faith-directed values on Election Day.”
Contact the ERLC at 1-800-475-9127 or visit www.iVoteValues.com for more information on these resources or to order or pre-order products.