November 7, 2018
Statement on the Results of the Midterm Elections
In response to the 2018 Midterm Elections, the leadership of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) issued the following statement:
In large numbers, voters in this year’s midterm elections have come out to insist on greater checks and balances between the branches of government and to embrace a more diverse group of new leaders including women, people of color and LGBT candidates. This election will result in a record number of women going to Congress and state houses with many gratifying “firsts” to celebrate. Our coalition, united by shared values of justice and of dignity for all people, welcomes this call for change.
It is encouraging to see the high turnout in the midterms and the ways in which people were activated in their local communities to act, vote and engage. While we have much work ahead, we are heartened by a critical majority of people around the country who want to fight for an inclusive democracy. Clearly Americans have been paying attention to the increased divisiveness in politics. They have responded by participating in this election at significantly increased rates, taking advantage of their power at the ballot box as well as their power to organize.
Blatant and shameful efforts to suppress the vote in many states likely had an impact on the size and nature of the turnout. Closing polls, purging voter rolls and setting overly strict Voter ID requirements were among the tactics to disenfranchise Blacks, Native Americans, Latinos and people who were formerly incarcerated. We are gratified that Florida voters passed a ballot measure to restore voting rights to formerly incarcerated individuals. One lesson of this election cycle is the crucial importance of eradicating voter suppression with its callous disregard for the equal value of every person.
In addition to candidates, many important issues were on the ballot, including abortion rights. While we are pleased that Oregon voters once again turned down an amendment to defund abortion services, we are disappointed that anti-abortion amendments passed in Alabama and West Virginia. Among the issues that were not explicitly on the ballot, health care and immigration, were major incentives to voter turnout.
We are in a long and arduous battle to build a society that is in tune with our values gleaned from our timeless faith traditions and teachings — compassion, respect for the dignity of every person and the pursuit of peace and justice. These values must never be compromised, especially at a time of painful divisiveness and hate. To assure that dignity becomes central in our society, people of faith and good will must stay watchful, informed and engaged in politics. RCRC is committed to sustaining this vigilance and to promoting progressive faith perspectives and values.