Clergy and community leaders with ISAIAH, a Partnership affiliate, celebrated the defeat of the voter restriction amendment in Minnesota early November 7, after months of talking with religious voters in their congregations and neighborhoods.
“We started this movement with the courage of our convictions and our belief that every voice should be heard," said Doran Schrantz, ISAIAH's Executive Director. "Against what looked like overwhelming odds, we threw everything we had into this fight to defeat this amendment. Driven by the power of thousands of grassroots people making a decision that everyone matters in Minnesota, we defeated this cynical attempt to restrict the vote in Minnesota.”
The effort to defeat the voter restriction amendment started months ago, with support for passing the measure registering at 80%. That did not stop ISAIAH or its allies in the Our Vote Our Future Coalition. More than 350 volunteers reached out to over 37,000 voters about the harmful effects voter restriction would have on the elderly, young adults, people of color and the poor. This initiative, called the Faith in Democracy Campaign, was a statewide effort of Prophetic Voices, a coalition of faith partners that includes ISAIAH, Jewish Community Action, and His Works United.
The campaign included an intentional and robust education and outreach effort across Minnesota. Congregations held petition-signing events, hosted phone bank programs and organized forums to raise awareness about harmful effects of the voter restriction amendment. Many individual faith leaders proclaimed their vision of a more just and inclusive democracy in sermons, two press conferences, and community events.
The civic engagement effort was ISAIAH’s first effort to mobilize people of faith to raise their combined voices – as voters – on behalf of racial, economic and social justice issues.
On Wednesday morning, in the midst of victory, ISAIAH leaders were already looking ahead: “There is still much more to be done," said Rev. Paul Slack, Pastor at New Creation Church and President of ISAIAH. "We successfully defended our electoral system. Now we must take the movement and the values at the center of that movement to the legislature. There is so much to do to ensure that the decisions the legislature makes reflects our vision of a state where everybody matters. Inclusion, love, and a place at the table for all God’s people, are all at stake as we move into determining the future direction of our state.”