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JEWISH VALUES IN ACTION A Community Engagement Guide for Election Year Practices and Resources

JCPA

JEWISH COUNCIL FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS


About the JCPA JCPA History The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), the united voice of the organized Jewish community, was formally established in 1944 by The Council of Jewish Federations, the forerunner of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). The JCPA was known for many years as the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC). The name was changed to the Jewish Council for Public Affairs in 1997 to reflect more accurately the agency’s mission. For well over half a century, the JCPA has served as an effective mechanism to identify issues, formulate policy, develop strategies and programs, and has given expression to a strongly united Jewish communal voice. By virtue of the JCPA’s unique position and structure, our ability to reach out and motivate Jews and non-Jews alike to action is unparalleled. Through our network of 14 national and 125 local independent partner agencies, the JCPA serves as a catalyst that heightens community awareness, encourages civic and social involvement, and deliberates key issues of importance to the Jewish community.

The Mission of the JCPA The mission of the Council is to serve as the representative voice of the organized American Jewish community in addressing the principal mandate of the Jewish community relations field, expressed in three interrelated goals:

1. To safeguard the rights of Jews here and around the world; 2. To dedicate ourselves to the safety and security of the state of Israel; 3. To protect, preserve and promote a just American society, one that is democratic and pluralistic, one that furthers harmonious interreligious, inter-ethnic, interracial and other intergroup relations.

These goals are informed by Jewish values. History teaches us that Jewish security is linked inexorably to the strength of democratic institutions. Thus the Jewish community has a direct stake and an ethical imperative to assure that America remains a country wedded to the Bill of Rights and committed to the rule of law, a nation whose institutions continue to function as a public trust. The JCPA reflects a unique and inclusive partnership of national member agencies, local community relations councils and committees, and the federations of which they are a component part or affiliated agency. It convenes the “common table” around which member agencies, through an open, representative, inclusive and consensusdriven process, meet to identify issues, articulate positions, and develop strategies, programs, and approaches designed to advance the public affairs goals and objectives of the organized Jewish community. The work of the JCPA, especially in matters relating to democratic pluralism and social justice, reflects the profound Jewish commitment to tikkun olam, the repair of the world. It expresses the conviction of the organized Jewish community that it must be active in the effort to build a just society. The JCPA has the responsibility to enhance the capacity of member agencies to effectively pursue the public affairs agenda. This responsibility requires the JCPA to provide coordination, support, and guidance for public affairs initiatives undertaken by national and local member agencies, to advocate on behalf of the public affairs policies of the organized Jewish community, and to respond to those member-identified needs which strengthen their individual and collaborative capacity to advance a communal public affairs agenda. This Election Guide was prepared by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs for the November 2012 General Election. JCPA thanks all of our member agencies for their assistance with this project. Their resources were invaluable and much appreciated.


Table of Contents Introduction................................................................................................................................................................... 4 Election Program Principles.......................................................................................................................................... 6 Candidate and Elected Official Outreach............................................................................................................. 7 Community Partnerships........................................................................................................................................ 7 Youth and Unaffiliated Outreach........................................................................................................................... 7 Fighting Poverty with Faith.................................................................................................................................... 7 Civility..................................................................................................................................................................... 8 Resolution on Civility....................................................................................................................................... 9 JCPA 2012 Federal Policy Priorities ............................................................................................................................ 11 Talking Points on Voter Engagement and Participation .................................................................................... 16 Jewish Texts and Commentary....................................................................................................................................17 Programming Resources.............................................................................................................................................20 Timeline .................................................................................................................................................................21 Resources for Assisting Elderly and Disabled Voters .......................................................................................... 22 Helpful Links on Accessibility Issues ................................................................................................................... 23 Focus on Issues ..................................................................................................................................................... 23 Sample Programs......................................................................................................................................................... 24 Candidate Briefings.............................................................................................................................................. 25 Candidate Forums................................................................................................................................................ 26 Issue Nights........................................................................................................................................................... 28 Youth Group Activities......................................................................................................................................... 29 Voting Integrity Programs....................................................................................................................................30 Voting Reminders..................................................................................................................................................31 Rules for Non-Profit Organizations............................................................................................................................ 32 Voter Registration................................................................................................................................................. 33 Endorsements....................................................................................................................................................... 33 Candidate Forums................................................................................................................................................ 33 Candidate Appearances at Events Other Than Forums or Debates .................................................................. 34 Candidate Questionnaires ................................................................................................................................... 34 Other Election Year Resources for Non-Profit Organizations ........................................................................... 35 Other Resources.......................................................................................................................................................... 36 Sample Postcard Voting Reminder ...................................................................................................................... 37 Sample Prayer for Voting...................................................................................................................................... 38 Sample Letter to College Students ..................................................................................................................... 39 Sample Candidate Forum Guidelines..................................................................................................................40 Sample Candidate Response Website................................................................................................................. 43 Sample Candidate Questionnaire........................................................................................................................ 44 Sample Ads .......................................................................................................................................................... 46 Sample Email Notice.............................................................................................................................................50


Introduction

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Why American Jews Must Vote Elections of great significance at the local, state, and federal levels in communities across the country are only months away. At stake are vital political, economic and moral issues of concern to all Americans, in addition to issues of special concern to American Jews. In the years following this election, there will be important debates about and decisions impacting the way our government does business. Our elected officials will consider legislation on significant issues including the economy, civil rights, poverty, climate change, jobs, immigration, national security, and the U.S.-Israel relationship. In addition, the President will appoint and the Senate will be called to confirm judges who will make crucial decisions affecting our lives. The Jewish community has a proud tradition of support for religious freedom and the separation of religion and state. We also care deeply about who our leaders are and recognize that civic engagement is an important part of how we put our values into action. There is much that the Jewish community relations field can and must do to make this happen – and still respect both the First Amendment and laws regarding nonprofit organizations. By organizing programs, get-out-the-vote efforts, candidate education, and a range of other activities, JCRCs can foster relationships with community leaders, engage young and unaffiliated Jews, and build coalitions with other communities and organizations. Our tradition teaches that Jews living in the Diaspora are obligated to follow the secular laws of the country in which they live, according to the rabbinic principle of “dina d’malchuta dina”—the law of the land is the law. (BT Nedarim 28a, Gittin 10b, Bava Kama 113a-b, Bava Batra 54b-55a). Since we are governed by American law, we should feel a moral imperative to help create laws that best reflect our ideals and interests. In a democracy, this is accomplished by civic engagement and voting. Indeed, our tradition instructs that “a ruler is not to be appointed unless the community is first consulted.” (BT Brachot 55a). Every vote counts and plays a defining role in setting policy agendas. It is therefore both our civic and religious duty to register promptly, educate ourselves about the critical issues, and participate in the elections so that we have a voice in shaping our country’s policies at the local, state, and national levels. This manual, Jewish Values in Action: A Community Engagement Guide for Election Year Practices and Resources, provides you and your community with tools, resources and information to help your community plan a successful election season engagement effort.

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Election Program Principles

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This November, American citizens from across the country will vote in a pivotal election. The community relations field is encouraged to educate and engage community members about contemporary issues. However, beyond the traditional voter-education opportunities, this election offers the many additional opportunities.

Candidate and Elected Official Outreach Despite the pressures of the campaign season, candidates and officials are often more available to community groups and constituents during this time period. Throughout the campaigns, candidates try to introduce or reacquaint themselves with community members. JCRCs may wish to view the campaign season in a similar way. This is a perfect time to introduce or reacquaint your JCRC with candidates who may go on to be your elected representatives. Even unsuccessful candidates often remain influential community and civic leaders. JCRCs should feel confident in reaching out to all candidates in this process. Caution is required when you provide a forum to a candidate or engage in other activity that could be considered intervening in a campaign. Remember that public policy is implemented on many levels. Though it is essential to reach out to candidates for federal office, JCRCs should also actively engage state and local office seekers. They play central and increasing roles developing policies that affect our community and often form the pool of leaders that subsequently seek higher office. Building strong relationships with these local officials can yield long-term benefits.

Community Partnerships Coalitions and community partnerships are a cornerstone of community relations. The campaign season is a perfect time to foster and strengthen ties with other community organizations. JCRCs should consider co-sponsoring election season programs as a vehicle to partner with other constituencies, reach a wider audience, and demonstrate the role of the JCRC.

Youth and Unaffiliated Outreach Recent elections have generated great excitement across the political spectrum – particularly with younger citizens, many of whom voted for the first time during the primary season or may cast their first ballot in the general election. By holding election-related programs, JCRCs can tap into this enthusiasm and introduce the JCRC to potential activists.

Fighting Poverty with Faith Fighting Poverty with Faith is building a nationwide movement to cut domestic poverty in half between 2010 and 2020. We are a diverse coalition of national and local faith groups that refuses to accept the status quo of poverty in United States. We bring the moral authority and the organizing power of the faith community to ensure that meeting the needs of those living in poverty is a national priority, and to highlight solutions that policy makers, community leaders, and concerned individuals can take to address the root causes of poverty. Fighting Poverty with Faith was founded to raise the profile of poverty in the 2008 elections. The response from the faith community across the country and from the elected representatives we engaged as part of this campaign was tremendous. In 2011, 62 national faith organizations and hundreds of local organizations and houses of worship came together to speak with one voice to advocate for public policies that promote decent work, enhance our social safety net, and ensure that our neighbors have the opportunity to access both. In 2012 the Fighting Poverty with Faith mobilization – led by JCPA, Catholic Charities, and the National Council of Churches – will include even more national and local faith organizations taking action across the country to elevate addressing poverty as a national priority. For more information about the 2012 Fighting Poverty with Faith mobilization, including election year advocacy materials, educational resources, and information about local events, visit: www.fightingpovertywithfaith.com 7


Civility The JCPA has launched a new Civility Campaign, a national effort framed by the JCPA Resolution adopted in February 2010 (copied below). The Resolution notes the decline in civility as an urgent matter and calls for the JCPA to study the issue. The JCPA has formed a national Civility Committee with 20 prominent, high-level, diverse leaders from across the political spectrum. See below for a copy of the JCPA Resolution on Civility. The following Civility Campaign website features additional resources and materials helpful for community engagement in this campaign: http://engage.jewishpublicaffairs.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=4504

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Resolution on Civility Adopted by 2010 Plenum

Robust, vigorous debate about the pressing issues of the day is vital and essential in a pluralistic society, including within our diverse Jewish community. Deep divisions are to be expected over how to address many issues including but not limited to the domestic economy, the environment, health care, American military involvement abroad, the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the existential threats posed to Israel by terror and Iranian nuclear ambition. A frank and civil exchange of ideas helps to inform and distill consensus. In recent years, however, we have been witness to an increasing challenge in general society and in our own community. There is greater political and socio-economic polarization, the deterioration of civil interaction, decreased sense of common ground among individuals with divergent perspectives, greater tension around global issues and their impact on American society. At times divisions spill over into racism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of prejudice and bias. It is cause for great concern. As differences devolve into uncivil acrimony, dignity is diminished and people holding diverse viewpoints cease listening to each other, it becomes more difficult if not impossible to find common ground. We are experiencing a level of incivility, particularly over issues pertaining to Israel, that has not been witnessed in recent memory. Where such polarization occurs within the Jewish community, it tears at the fabric of Klal Yisrael – our very sense of peoplehood – and is a cause for profound concern. Civility is neither the lack of difference nor the squelching of debate. It is the application of care for the dignity of every human being, even those with whom we may sharply disagree. It is listening carefully when others speak, not just to understand what they are saying and thinking, but to open ourselves to the possibility that they may have something to teach. It is the guarding of tongue and the rejection of false witness. As Jews, our shared past, present, and future require that we find ways to work for a common good, toward Klal Yisrael. Each of us has a sacred obligation to heal our broken world. This repair requires that we recognize that the divine is in every one of us. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs believes that: • The decline in civility in our community and broader society is a matter of urgent priority that demands we issue a Call for Civility and institute a campaign to address this urgent challenge. This campaign will convene, inspire, and empower Jewish community institutions and their leaders from across the political spectrum to engage in and model for others civil discourse on the most challenging issues. Through this effort, our institutions and leaders will engender mutual respect, shared listening and learning, and become powerful bridge builders who can assist our people to navigate future sensitive community relations challenges. The community relations field should: • Model civility in our own work based on a commitment to dialogue and mutual respect for those with whom we may disagree, and swiftly condemn acts of demonization, defamation, and demagoguery.

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• Mount Civil Discourse campaigns in communities throughout the country in cooperation with partner organizations. • Educate our community about the rich sources in our tradition that embrace civility as an ethical and moral duty and that warn of the consequences of incivility. • Develop resources including training modules for lay and professional leaders on conflict resolution, active listening, and respectful communication. • Advance programmatic and process oriented solutions for difficult communal issues that afford opportunities for disparate voices to be heard, respected, considered, and valued. • Examine the role of the internet and other media in the decline of civility. • Develop respectful mechanisms to challenge false or defamatory communications.

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JCPA 2012 Federal Policy Priorities

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The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) serves as the representative voice of the organized American Jewish community in addressing the principal mandate of the Jewish community relations field and works to repair the world through Jewish activism. The JCPA functions as a catalyst that heightens community awareness, encourages civic and social involvement, and deliberates key issues of importance to the Jewish community. For more than sixty-five years, the JCPA has identified issues, formulated policy, developed strategies and programs, and expressed the organized Jewish community’s perspectives on a wide range of domestic and international issues. The JCPA has an unparalleled capacity to mobilize grassroots activism through our network of 14 national and 125 local member agencies. Our Washington Office serves as a federal policy resource for our member agencies and helps the community relations field express the consensus policy views of the organized Jewish community to national leaders. The following are the JCPA’s current federal policy priorities. This is not meant to be a comprehensive survey of all of the issues in which we or our national and local members are engaged.

Israel and International Issues Preventing a Nuclear Iran

The JCPA believes that a nuclear armed Iran presents an existential threat to the State of Israel, to the stability of the Middle East as a whole, and to the safety and security of the world community. The JCPA strongly encourages the full and expeditious implementation of U.S. sanctions directed against Iran as well as United Nations Security Council and other international sanctions in order to dramatically increase the pressure on the Iranian regime and maximize the chance of persuading Iran to suspend its nuclear weapons program.

Ensuring a Robust International Affairs Budget Including Foreign Aid to Israel

The JCPA works to ensure the continuation of robust foreign aid to Israel as well as a strong international affairs budget in the yearly appropriations bill. The JCPA is appreciative of U.S. generosity and a robust foreign assistance program. We believe foreign assistance is an important tool to support our allies, assist those in developing nations, and protect U.S. interests.

Supporting U.S. Engagement in the Peace Process

The JCPA encourages high-level and robust diplomatic engagement by the Obama Administration in moving the Israeli-Palestinian-Arab peace process forward. The JCPA supports two independent, democratic, and economically viable states, the Jewish state of Israel and a Palestinian state, living side-by-side in peace and security. We believe this vision can only be achieved through direct, bilateral negotiations, and attempts to achieve Palestinian statehood unilaterally through action by the United Nations -- as well as efforts by the Palestinians to achieve full membership as a state in UN-affiliated bodies -- are counterproductive. The JCPA works to promote a strong, vibrant Israel that is committed to peace, in part by addressing the various efforts to delegitimize Israel’s existence.

Addressing Sudan and Other International Humanitarian Crises

The JCPA supports the vigorous protection of human rights as an integral part of U.S. foreign policy, especially situations involving genocide and mass atrocities, and urges effective American involvement in this area, on a multilateral basis when possible and a unilateral basis when necessary. The JCPA urges the U.S. to take a leadership role assisting Southern Sudan as it emerges as the 193rd member state of the United Nations and in instituting measures to assure peace and security for all people in that war-torn region.

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Countering International Terrorism and States that Support Terror

The JCPA encourages Congress and the Administration to implement strong U.S. policies to counter international terrorism, including state-sponsored terrorism. The JCPA encourages the U.S. government to work with our allies around the world to implement comprehensive strategies to prevent and respond to terrorism, including freezing the assets of groups and individuals that have been linked to terrorism, strengthening international cooperation on weapons control, and halting nuclear proliferation.

Ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

CEDAW is a landmark international agreement that affirms principles of fundamental human rights and equality for women around the world. The treaty calls for an end to discrimination against women and has been ratified by 186 countries. Though the treaty has twice been reported from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with a bipartisan vote, it has not yet been considered by the full Senate. The JCPA is part of a national campaign that is urging the Senate to ratify CEDAW.

Domestic Issues Confronting Poverty in America

As part of our Confronting Poverty campaign, the JCPA continues to work on a host of legislative issues that can help put an end to poverty. The JCPA strongly supports the protection and restoration of funding for and access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). We are also committed to supporting other anti-hunger programs that provide directed assistance to children and seniors. We will monitor and advocate on behalf of anti-hunger and nutrition programs in the Farm Bill reauthorization and budget negotiations. Other programs the JCPA seeks to protect include the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP), unemployment insurance, affordable housing, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), child care assistance, refundable tax credits (including EITC and the Child Tax Credit), and the Women and Infant Children (WIC) program. All of these programs should be provided with appropriate funding and should not fall victim to deficit reduction measures and budgetary process changes.

Providing Care for Seniors Living in Poverty

Older Americans who live in poverty often suffer in silence, struggling in the shadows while trying to make ends meet. A number of legislative initiatives could help relieve the challenges many seniors face who are suffering from poor health, hunger, social isolation, or inadequate housing. The JCPA will work to improve the Older Americans Act, making sure that important services are properly funded and accessible. We will pay special attention to funding for critical anti-hunger programs such as the Meals on Wheels programs and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CFSP), where many seniors receive their daily nutrition. The JCPA will advocate for policies that help empower older adults to live healthier, more independent, and more fulfilling lives free from the challenges of poverty.

Advancing Fair Elections

The lifeblood of our democracy is the ability for every eligible citizen to cast a meaningful ballot for a candidate of his or her own choosing. The JCPA has a long history of supporting policies to ensure fair and representative elections, including strong support for the Voting Rights Act and early voting, and will advocate for additional measures to expand access to the ballot and remove unreasonable obstacles to voting. Among our concerns is the scheduling of elections and caucuses on religiously sensitive days, including the Jewish Sabbath.

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Creating Sustainable Jobs and Fostering Economic Growth

The JCPA believes that Congress and the Administration can help heal our ailing economy by creating pathways to long-term employment. Efforts should be made to invest in fields such as infrastructure, state and local governments, schools, hospitals, and clean technology innovation in order to contribute to long-term economic and employment growth. Every effort should be made to direct job creation and training with targeted assistance to geographic regions and particular populations that have been hardest hit by the recession, including low-income individuals, women, people of color, people with disabilities, seniors, veterans, and youth. We urge Congress to enact measures to create additional sustainable jobs with living wages, workforce protections, and healthcare in order to foster greater economic security for all Americans and promote broad-based economic recovery.

Protecting Civil Rights

The JCPA has a long standing commitment to protecting and advancing civil rights for all Americans. We will continue our focus on several pieces of legislation, including the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which expands federal employment protections to individuals discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Additionally, the JCPA will advocate for new policies to address bullying, which include proactive disciplinary measures to combat future incidents and create an environment of safety, equality, civility, and respect. We will also work closely with executive branch agencies to ensure that civil rights statutes are being effectively and responsibly enforced. This effort will include closely monitoring the implementation of important civil rights statutes, including the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act, and updates to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Strengthening America’s Education System

Efforts will be made in the coming year to reform America’s struggling public education system and create a system that works for all children and stakeholders. Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001) should include ensuring equal opportunity for all students to learn and be college-and career-ready upon graduation, the reduction of concentrated poverty and racial isolation in school communities, and the creation of safe and healthy schools that reduce the incidence of bullying and harassment. The JCPA is committed to strengthening and sustaining public schools, recognizing that this is the primary route for most children, especially low-income children, to achieve an education that can lead to a future full of opportunity. We support reform that makes improvements in early childhood education and will concentrate on programs for schools in high-risk, high-poverty districts. In addition, we will reinforce our commitment to promoting literacy through advocacy on relevant legislation.

Promoting Energy Independence and Environmental Protection in the Interests of Security, Health, & the Economy

The JCPA and the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) believe that legislation promoting energy independence should reflect our values of protecting Creation and support clean technology innovation while contributing to our struggling economy. In addition, policies that promote greater energy security through renewable fuels and other innovations, while reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, should also protect the environment and take into consideration the impacts on vulnerable populations. We also support the federal government’s ability to implement the Clean Air Act by regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

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Defending Religious Liberty

Religious liberty and the relationship between religious institutions and the federal government has been a priority for the JCPA since our founding. Among our primary concerns are proselytization in the armed services and so called “charitable choice.� The JCPA will continue to call for enforcement of military rules against coercive proselytizing and improper sectarian prayer at mandatory and official ceremonies and events. The JCPA will also closely monitor legislation and regulations providing government funding for social services by religiously affiliated organizations. Where such funding is authorized, it must have appropriate safeguards to prevent First Amendment violations and protect the religious freedom of program beneficiaries and employees. We will continue our work with our national member agencies and coalition partners as well as the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and its corollary offices in federal agencies to implement President Obama’s executive order that provides greater oversight and religious liberty safeguards for grant recipients.

Balancing Civil Liberties and National Security

The JCPA is strongly committed to protecting and enhancing our national security interests and will work with Congress and the Administration to keep our nation safe. We are also cognizant of how these policies impact the daily lives of Americans and have the potential to conflict with our cherished traditions of protecting personal privacy and civil liberties. The JCPA will continue our advocacy for proper balance of national security and civil liberties during Congressional consideration of important legislation. The JCPA remains particularly concerned about the civil liberties implications of racial, ethnic, and religious profiling.

Working Towards Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Informed by Jewish values and traditions, the JCPA supports efforts to enact comprehensive reform of federal immigration policy with an emphasis on family reunification, the protection of civil and human rights, and national security. We advocate for reform measures that will create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers while prioritizing more effective border security and enforcement. As one element of such reform, the JCPA supports Congressional passage of legislation to allow students, brought to America at a young age, the opportunity to achieve the American Dream and become legal citizens. The JCPA is additionally concerned about attacks on the status of citizenship of people born in the United States, local and state measures that have contributed to antiimmigrant discrimination, the use of immigration detention in instances that are unnecessary and inhumane, and efforts at the state and local levels to enact and enforce immigration policies that should be the purview of the federal government. Immigration enforcement measures must be consistent with humanitarian values and protect civil, worker, and human rights.

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Talking Points on Voter Engagement and Participation • As in most election years, there has been talk about the effect of the “Jewish vote.” While Jews comprise less than 3% of the population, the Jewish community’s influence in the political realm stems in large part from the traditional high voter participation rates and from our concentration in key states. • There are many issues of concern to the Jewish community, including education, health care, the environment, the conflict in the Middle East, civil rights and religious freedom, that will form the core of the debate in this election year. By exercising the right to vote, individuals can have a say in charting the future course for our great nation. • Though more and more people are registered to vote, unfortunately voter turnout has steadily dropped in recent elections. Almost 50% of eligible voters do not vote for president and the numbers drop significantly in less prominent elections. • While “Motor Voter” laws have increased the percentage of registered voters, individuals still fall through the cracks (including senior citizens, college students and under-represented communities). • Registering to vote is now easier than ever before. With the advent of the National Mail-In Voter Registration form the registration process has been simplified. It is now possible to register over the internet at a number of different websites including www.canivote.org, http://www.eac.gov/voter_resources/register_to_vote.aspx, or www.rockthevote.org • “In America the people appoint both those who make the laws and those who execute them; the people form the jury which punishes breaches of the law. The institutions are democratic not only in principle but also in their developments…It is clear that the opinions, prejudices, interests and even passions of the people can find no lasting obstacles preventing them from being manifest in the daily conduct of society.” — Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1837 • “And while we are demanding and ought to demand, and will continue to demand the rights enumerated above, God forbid that we should ever forget to urge corresponding duties upon our people: the duty to vote; the duty to respect the rights of others; the duty to work; the duty to obey the laws; the duty to be clean and orderly; the duty to send our children to school; the duty to respect ourselves, even as we respect others.” — The Niagara Movement Declaration of Principles, 1908 • “The effects of present [campaign finance] practices are pernicious, for they reduce voter access to elected officials, erode moral standards in government agencies and institutions, and breed distrust and alienation. No wonder public skepticism is so rampant. How can we ever expect a fair result if the very rules of the game are unfair? How can we expect morally sound public policy when the system itself ensures disproportionate influence for the most powerful? How can we—whose religious calling includes the imperative to speak for the widow and the orphan, the poor and the children—accept an electoral process that structurally and systematically favors the richest among us?” — Rabbi David Saperstein, 1997

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Jewish Texts and Commentary

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This is the generation and those who seek its welfare” (Psalms 24:6). Rabbi Judah the Patriarch and the sages differed in this matter. One opinion was that the character of the generation is determined by its leader. According to the other opinion, the character of the leader is determined by the generation. –Talmud, Arachin 17a Commentary: A community with the opportunity to choose its own leadership makes a statement about its own character by virtue of the choice it makes. We are therefore responsible for creating a community that fosters the growth of good leadership and choosing wisely among the candidates who wish to govern. Both of the opinions in the passage from the Talmud quoted above express the belief that a leader’s character is causally related to that of his or her generation. What we do, or don’t do, on Election Day will define the character of our nation. “The heads of your tribes, your elders, and your officers” (Deuteronomy 29:9). Even though I appointed over you heads, elders, and officers, all of you are equal before Me, for the verse concludes, “All are the people of Israel.” –Tanchuma Nitzavim 2 Commentary: The beauty of democracy is that each citizen has an equal voice in the election process; we are able to make decisions for the future of our country based on the principle of equality. The Tanchuma teaches that each of the children of Israel has equal worth in the eyes of the Almighty. Though some may take on leadership roles and rise in visibility, our creator values each person’s voice. We express that voice by voting. Commentary: Humility is valued in the Jewish tradition. Self-confidence is also encouraged, but all people, even those individuals who have experienced successes, are warned to maintain a sense of fallibility. How then can any leader feel confident and empowered to make decisions in the interests of the community? He or she must be chosen by the members of the community themselves. This is the essence of democracy. “Dina d’malchuta dina” (The law of the land is the law.) –Talmud, N’darim 28a, Gittin 10b, Bava Kama 113a-b, Bava Batra 54b-55a Commentary: Already in the period of the compilation of the Talmud, the rabbinic principle that civil laws must be recognized and honored had been developed. What an uncommon pleasure it is to comply with this mandate in a land whose legal code offers its citizens the opportunity to go to the polls and elect the officials who rule the land. This is a nation that in its founding documents prohibited religious tests for office and laws respecting establishment of religion, while guaranteeing free exercise of religion, which not only secured our freedoms, but ensured that our rights as citizens would not depend upon our religious identity or practices. In the United States, we have known unprecedented freedoms and opportunities. Exercising the right to vote is indispensable to ensuring our children also enjoy such freedom. Rabbi Yitzhak taught, “A ruler is not to be appointed unless the community is first consulted.” –Talmud, B’rachot 55a Thus said the Eternal One, the God of Israel, to the whole community that I exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon… “Seek the welfare of the city to which I have exiled you and pray to the Eternal in its behalf; for in its prosperity you shall prosper.” –Jeremiah 29: 4-7

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Rabbi Chanina, the Deputy of Priests, would often say, “Pray for the welfare of the government, for were it not for the fear of it, people would swallow each other alive.” –Pirke Avot 3:2 Commentary: Wherever we live, it is probably Egypt. There is, there really is, a better place, a promised land. And there is, there really is, a promised time. And there is no way to get from here to there, from now to then, except by joining together and marching—and sometimes stumbling—through the wilderness, watching this time not for signs and wonders, but for an opportunity to act. -Michael Walzer, Exodus and Revolution, adapted

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Programming Resources

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Timeline Use this timeline to help guide your organization’s engagement with the upcoming election and issues. Suggested activities, program tips and sample materials for all the items listed below can be found within this guide.

August

☐ Plan a candidate forum. Extend invitations to all legally qualified candidates as soon as possible. ☐ Plan “issue nights” to educate members in a non-partisan fashion about important policy issues. ☐ Plan a voter registration drive, recruit volunteers to organize drives on college campuses, senior centers, busy shopping plazas.

September

☐ Plan a date to help your community members who are homebound or in nursing homes register to vote and/ or complete their absentee ballots. ☐ Contact your local college students to remind them to register at their new address or obtain absentee ballots.

October

☐ Place an ad/article in synagogue, community, and organizational bulletins or newsletters reminding people to vote. ☐ Coordinate transportation to the polls. ☐ Plan a date to help your members who are homebound or in nursing homes complete their absentee ballots. ☐ Ask all local rabbis to give a sermon on the importance of civic participation and voting. ☐ Send out postcards and/or coordinate a phone drive reminding people to vote using community-wide Federation membership lists.

November

☐ Call community members, especially college students on November 5th to remind them of the election. ☐

VOTE ON NOVEMBER 6th!

☐ Organize youth movements and day schools to volunteer at local polling stations. Have a community-wide Election Night Party where the community comes and watches election night coverage, and socializes. ☐ Host a Post-Election Party. ☐ Invite speakers to discuss policy implications of the elections. ☐ Plan a “Meet-and-Greet” with newly elected officials.

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Resources for Assisting Elderly and Disabled Voters Both the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984 and the Help America Vote Act of 2002 require polling places across the United States to be physically accessible to people with disabilities. Unfortunately, due to a lack of enforcement of the law, many polling places are still located in church basements and upstairs meeting halls that lack ramps and elevators. As a result, the National Organization on Disability (NOD) reports that people with disabilities register to vote at a rate of 16 to 20 percent less than the rest of the population. Because more than 35 million voting-age people (one fifth of the population) have disabilities, this discrepancy in voter turnout makes it clear that if people with disabilities were to turn out to the polls in higher numbers, their votes could greatly influence election results. In fact, NOD reports that if people with disabilities voted at the same rate as the rest of America, there would have been at least 5 million more votes cast in the 1996 presidential election. Leviticus 19:14 states, “You shall not insult the deaf, nor place a stumbling block before the blind.” Jewish tradition teaches us of our obligation to ensure equal access for all people and to help facilitate the full participation of individuals with disabilities in our communities. There are a number of ways you can help ensure that congregants with disabilities are able to cast their ballots and make their voices heard on Election Day. • Create a comprehensive list of known voting-age community members with disabilities, including those who are elderly. –– Work with other organizations in the federated system to promote equal access to voting –– Make calls or visits to discuss voting options. Bring a copy of voter registration forms; assist individuals with disabilities in filling out and mailing in the forms. –– Supply individuals with information they need about upcoming elections. For example, supply large-print copies of informational materials or provide rides to and from community forums. –– The Help America Vote Act requires all polling places to have at least one accessible voting machine for voters with vision impairments however, not all voters may be comfortable using these machines. Federal law mandates that blind voters be permitted accompaniment by an aide of their choice to help them vote. Offer to accompany a blind community member to the polls, taking care to assure the person that you will fill out the ballot according to his or her preference. • Check (in advance) to make sure your local polling places are fully accessible to individuals with disabilities. Check for elevators, lifts, ramps, disability-accessible parking spots, etc. Where such accessibility aids do not exist, contact your local Board of Elections to address these issues. • In some jurisdictions, pre-Election Day voting orientations are conducted for voters with mental disabilities. Find out if such orientations exist in your area. • Poll workers sometimes challenge the voting rights of individuals with disabilities when they arrive on Election Day. Contact your chief local election official in advance to establish a system under which such challenges can be immediately rectified should they occur.

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Helpful Links on Accessibility Issues • Is your polling place fully accessible? Find out using this ADA checklist www.ada.gov/votingck.htm • For more comprehensive information about accessibility, absentee voting and more, visit the American Association of People with Disabilities Disability Vote Project at: http://www.aapd.com/what-we-do/voting/disability-voteproject.html

Focus on Issues Your JCRC’s can play a role in helping voters make informed decisions based on issues that speak most strongly to them. JCPA will also prepare simple one page policy statements on these issues. Please feel free to use the resources provided. From Israel to domestic policy, inform your community about issues such as: • Israel and International Issues –– Preventing a Nuclear Iran –– Ensuring a Robust International Affairs Budget Including Foreign Aid to Israel –– Supporting U.S. Engagement in the Peace Process –– Addressing Sudan and Other International Humanitarian Crises –– Countering International Terrorism and States that Support Terror –– Ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) • Domestic Issues –– Confronting Poverty in America –– Providing Care for Seniors Living in Poverty –– Advancing Fair Elections –– Creating Sustainable Jobs and Fostering Economic Growth –– Protecting Civil Rights –– Strengthening America’s Education System –– Promoting Energy Independence and Environmental Protection in the Interests of Security, Health, & the Economy –– Defending Religious Liberty –– Balancing Civil Liberties and National Security –– Working Towards Comprehensive Immigration Reform To access the JCPA Policy Compendium for a full listing of policy on these and other issues, visit: http://engage. jewishpublicaffairs.org/t/1686/p/salsa/web/common/public/content?content_item_KEY=1069

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Sample Programs

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Candidate Briefings Candidate briefings are small meetings between a candidate and key community members in a private setting. These events provide excellent opportunities to connect with candidates and future decision makers. Candidate briefings have fewer legal restrictions for non-profit organizations than other types of election engagement activities such as candidate forums. JCRC and Federation leadership should feel comfortable meeting privately with candidates and discussing public policy goals and concerns.

Objectives

• Build long-lasting relationships with candidates and future elected officials • Educate candidates on the role of the JCRC in the Jewish Community and the JCRC’s work • Educate candidates on issues of concern to the organized Jewish community • Discuss policy positions with future policy makers

Participants

• Candidate for public office • JCRC/Federation leadership

Timeline

Candidate briefings are usually scheduled for an hour. Introductions usually take place in the first ten to fifteen minutes. Each person attending the candidate briefing should feel comfortable providing a short introduction. Be sure to include each person’s relationship with the JCRC in the introduction. It is also advisable to bring written materials for the candidate. Please feel free to offer JCPA and JCRC policy statements.

Resources

• JCRC Policy Statements • JCPA Policy Resolutions • JFNA Policy Resolutions

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Candidate Forums Candidate Forums are events where candidates have the opportunity to speak to voters directly and answer their questions. These programs may be hosted in several different ways. All legally qualified candidates should be invited to the candidate forum program. All forums must also provide candidates with equal speaking time and opportunity to interact with voters. This could happen at the same session, or several consecutive sessions. Candidate forums tend to be high profile events and could be used to attract new participants to the JCRC, particularly young adults showing an interest in politics. Partnering with other organizations to sponsor these events is a common strategy to increase the profile of the forum, attract a diverse cross-section of voters, and strong ties with community partners. JCRCs have partnered with local chapters of the NAACP, National Council of La Raza, and other faith groups, to name a few. It is also common to partner with civic engagement organizations such as the League of Women Voters. You should remember that not all organizations are 501(c)(3), and any forum in which you participate must adhere to the law to which you are subject. It is also important to remember that there are many legal restrictions on non-profit organizations when hosting candidate forums. Further information can be found in the Other Resources section of this booklet.

Objectives

• Provide voters with an opportunity to meet candidates and ask questions • Demonstrate the role of the JCRC to those seeking public office and educate them about issues of concern to the local Jewish community • Build relationships with community organizations • Engage new participants in JCRC events • Acquaint young and unaffiliated Jews with their local JCRC

Participants

• Candidates for public office (all legally qualified candidates) • JCRC leadership • Community partner agencies and their members • Interested members of the community if the forum is open to the public

Timeline

Candidate forums may take place either in a single session (with all of the qualified candidates) or in several similar consecutive sessions (where each candidate is given a time to speak individually). Typically, individual candidate forum sessions last between sixty and ninety minutes. Before candidates are invited, community partners should meet to discuss the format of the event and the rules for the forum. All sponsoring agencies should be engaged in this process. When discussing the format of the event, sponsoring agencies should decide if they would prefer to have a single event or multiple sessions. There are benefits to each approach. Cosponsoring organizations should decide on a preferred location. JCRCs should feel comfortable hosting these events in their facilities, at the local Federation building, a JCC, a synagogue, or at the building of another Jewish agency or organization. Forum rules should contain the 26


speaking order, types and length of presentations by the candidates, types of allowable questions from the public, and candidate response time. Rules should be set to provide each candidate equal time and opportunity to present his or her views. The moderator must remain neutral. Questions should reflect a broad range of topics, not just those deemed of interest to the sponsor(s), and they should not express the organization’s position on a given issue. Sample rules are included in the resource section of this booklet. After the event, feel free to host a short reception for community participants. All candidates should be invited to these receptions. This provides JCRC leadership an opportunity to foster relationships with future elected officials, engage new participants, and build bonds with other community and civic leaders.

Hillel Partnership

Cosponsoring a candidate forum with a local Hillel is a wonderful way to engage local college students and build a relationship with the campus leadership. This type of event may provide an opportunity to introduce the JCRC to a new cohort of young and active Jews. These types of forums usually take place in college auditoriums and attract a significant number of college students as well as community members. JCRC leadership and Hillel student leaders should work together throughout the planning process. Hillel students should be involved in identifying a location for the event, establishing the format and preparing the rules. Hillel students should also be featured during the event.

Local Civic Engagement Organization Partnership

Civic engagement organizations, such as the League of Women Voters, are natural partners for JCRCs when planning candidate forums. These types of organizations tend to have a preferred format and set of rules. Partnering with civic engagement organizations can help attract a large audience to a forum and ensure that the candidate’s comments and answers touch a variety of issues of concern to the community.

Local Community Organization Partnership

JCRCs may also partner to sponsor candidate forums with local community based organizations, such as local chapters of the NAACP, local affiliates of the National Council of La Raza, and other faith groups. In addition to building strong relationships with candidates, these events help fortify ties with community partners. They also demonstrate the role of the JCRC to candidates and civic leaders. When hosting candidate forums with local community organizations, it is important to touch on issues of common concern.

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Issue Nights Issue nights are community meetings designed to raise awareness about specific issues facing the community and providing balanced educational resources about these issues. Issue nights generally feature a panel of speakers that express a broad range of views about a particular public policy. JCRCs have hosted these types of events on topics including Israel and the Middle East, energy security, healthcare, and education. Issue nights are effective ways to highlight particular issues and engage in election activism without engaging with candidates. These types of events are also good models for discussions about ballot initiatives. Many states will have ballot initiatives this November. Issue Nights can help community members feel more comfortable with the policy proposals and legislation on the ballot and feel more confident about their vote. Like candidate forums, issue nights can be sponsored with other local organizations. Cosponsoring these types of events can help strengthen existing relationships and build new relationships.

Objectives:

• Provide educational opportunities for community members to better understand issues being addressed during the election • Engage young and unaffiliated Jews • Build relationships with other community organizations

Participants:

• JCRC/Federation Leadership • Leading experts (two or three) on specific issue or issue set • Interested members of the community

Timeline:

Issue nights are usually scheduled for an hour or hour-and-a-half. JCRC leadership should introduce the program and welcome all of the participants. It is important for the JCRC to mention that this event is intended to be an educational event and that the JCRC does not endorse candidates. Nothing at this event should be construed as an endorsement of any candidate in any way. However, the JCRC may take positions on public policy issues. After the introduction of the hosts, each speaker should be introduced. These introductions should be kept relatively short. Each speaker then should make opening remarks. These remarks should be about ten to fifteen minutes each. After each speaker offers their opening views, the session should proceed to a question and answer period. A short reception may follow this event. JCRCs may want to make JCRC, JCPA and JFNA policies about this issue available to event participants.

Resources:

• JCRC Policy Statements • JCPA Policy Statements • JFNA Policy Statements

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Youth Group Activities The high profile nature and excitement of the 2012 Presidential campaign has encouraged many young Americans, including Jews, to become more interested in government and public policy. Collaborating with youth groups allows JCRCs an opportunity to introduce themselves and their work to young Jews. Further, it offers these young Jews an opportunity to engage in public policy in a Jewish context. JCRCs are also encouraged to engage other community youth groups in these election events as a means to demonstrate their community relations mission.

Objectives:

• Engage young Jews and acquaint them with the JCRC • Provide resources for young, Jewish, first-time voters • Demonstrate the role of the JCRC to young Jews in the community and help build relationships between community youth groups

Participants:

• Jewish youth group members • JCRC leadership • Community youth group members

Many of the programs in this Sample Program Section can be easily modified for a youth group audience. It is important to remember that many, synagogue youth groups have specific participation requirements. JCRCs may plan issue nights or candidate forums that touch on specific issues of concern to young voters.

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Voting Integrity Programs Voting day can be a very confusing time. People need to know when and where to vote. Polling stations do not always open on time, or close too early, and voting machines do not always run effectively. It is essential that there are volunteers on the ground that insure that everyone has the opportunity cast a meaningful ballot. JCRCs may work with local civic engagement organizations or local bar associations to engage community members in voting integrity programs such as monitoring polling places, fixing voting machines, and helping disabled voters cast ballots. These types of programs help build strong relationships with local organizations and provide a meaningful way to support the American democratic process.

Objectives:

• Work with local community members to ensure the integrity of the voting system • Educate community members about the obstacles that face some citizens when voting • Engage young and unaffiliated Jews and acquaint them with the work of the JCRC

Poll Monitoring

JCRC volunteers can help monitor polling places and ensure that they open and close on time, are treating all citizens fairly, and providing every voter with the proper privacy and respect required to cast a meaningful ballot. Often local organizations and affiliates of national organizations conduct poll monitor trainings. JCRCs may wish to publicize these programs, organize a group of volunteers to learn about the issues, including voter identification requirements, and then monitor polls, or even cosponsor these workshops.

Youth Activities

Since the 2000 Presidential Election, many communities throughout the United States have transitioned to electronic voting machines. Many voters find these machines challenging. Like all electrical equipment, they sometimes malfunction. Students and young adults with computer skills may be able to assist local poll workers when electronic voting machines malfunction. Students may travel from polling place to polling place helping poll workers with these voting machines. Before developing a program, it is important to coordinate efforts with other local civic engagement organizations and the local Election Authorities.

Timetable:

Poll monitors and volunteers for voting integrity programs are needed throughout the day on Election Day. Organizing volunteer shifts may be the simplest way to organize this type of event.

Resources:

• Directory of Local Election Officials: https://www.overseasvotefoundation.org/overseas/nass.htm • National Association of Secretaries of State: http://www.canivote.org/ • Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law - Election Protection Program: http://www.866ourvote.org/. • Absentee Ballot Locator: http://www.longdistancevoter.org/

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Voting Reminders As the election approaches, JCRCs may send simple voting reminders to members of the Jewish community. This can be done in several different ways. JCRCs may develop postcards that are sent to all community members reminding them to vote and the hours of local polling places. These programs can also be modified to engage a broader audience. For example, JCRCs may wish to have a contest to design the postcard as way to engage elementary and middle school students. JCRCs may also allow children to individually decorate blank postcards that are then sent to community members. JCRCs may also choose to target these voting reminders to community members who have had historically lower levels of election participation, such as homebound elderly voters and disabled voters.

Objectives:

• Remind community members about the upcoming election and the JCRCs role in the community • Engage voters in the Election • Engage specific voters with historically lower participation rates in the upcoming election • Provide a family friendly activity for election engagement • Engage students and young Jews in an election related activity

Participants:

• JCRC leadership • Young students • All community members

Timeline:

This program could be scheduled in many different ways. JCRCs may wish to work with local schools over a several week period to publicize a design contest, have the cards printed, and mailed. It is important to remember that bulk mail may take longer to process than normal first-class mail service. Post cards should be sent early enough to ensure they arrive before the election. JCRCs could also utilize email notices and new social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter to send out voting reminders to large audiences.

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Rules for Non-Profit Organizations

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Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations must adhere to certain rules related to elections, including an absolute prohibition on actions that would intervene on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. Below are some guidelines. They are not, however, meant to constitute legal advice, which should be sought by your organization’s counsel as appropriate.

Voter Registration Non-profit organizations are permitted to engage in voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts. The targets of such initiatives must be chosen for reasons other than that they are likely to vote for particular candidates. These efforts cannot be a subterfuge for aiding a candidate, but rather a genuine non-partisan voter registration or GOTV effort.

Endorsements Section 501(c)(3) non-profits (JCRCs, Federations, synagogues, JCCs, etc.) may not explicitly or implicitly support or oppose any candidate for public office or any political party. This means neither the 501(c)(3) nor someone representing it may do so. Examples of implicit endorsements might include statements about candidates made by 501(c)(3) leaders in their official roles, providing resources that advantage one campaign over another, or providing a forum for a candidate that evidences bias in the format or by excluding other qualified candidates. Care must be used when renting facilities and lists, selling advertising, etc. to a candidate, party, or group advocating on an issue central to a campaign. It is not sufficient to say that others could have taken advantage of such an opportunity. To avoid even the appearance of campaign intervention, you should first actively make all candidates aware of your policies and be consistent in adhering to these policies.

Candidate Forums The Internal Revenue Service has held that a 501(c)(3) organizations may invite candidates to a public forum for the purpose of public education, as long as the organization takes appropriate steps to ensure fair and impartial treatment of candidates. The IRS, in assessing a forum, will look at all the facts and circumstances. No one factor is determinative. The most important thing to consider is not the motive for the activity, but the activity itself. The following criteria may serve as guidelines: • A non-partisan and independent panel of knowledgeable persons has prepared and presented unbiased questions for forum participants. • Procedures for raising questions show no bias or preference for or against a particular candidate. • Each candidate is given an equal opportunity to present his or her views. • The moderator is neutral, does not act as a spokesperson for the sponsoring organization’s views, and serves solely to ensure that the rules of the event are observed. • It is stated clearly that the views expressed are those of the candidates and not those of the sponsoring organization(s), that sponsorship of the event is not intended as an endorsement of any candidate, and that all of the candidates who met objective, reasonable criteria were invited to participate (see below). • The forum agenda and questions cover a broad range of issues.

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• If candidate forums are held sequentially, they must not advantage one candidate(s) (e.g., setting, format, publicity, timing, etc.) The IRS has stated that “all legally-qualified candidates” must be invited to participate in candidate forums and debates. Where a large number of candidates appearing would be impractical, a nonprofit may exclude based on reasonable criteria. The crucial factor in this regard is that 501(c)(3) organizations must develop reasonable, objective criteria for participation in candidate forums. Such criteria must be designed to further the educational purposes of the event and may not reflect any bias for or against particular views, beliefs, or candidates. These criteria must be established PRIOR to planning the event. Such criteria may call for the exclusion of candidates deemed to lack viability, on the grounds that including such “fringe” candidates would hinder, rather than enhance, the educational value of the event. For instance, a policy may state that a candidate may be excluded from a forum if he/she fails to meet pre-determined objective criteria such as achieving a minimum threshold (e.g., 15%) in an independent, credible poll. Exclusions must be carefully considered, in order to avoid any appearance of viewpoint-based bias, which could lead to the conclusion that a 501(c)(3) organization is impermissibly intervening with or attempting to influence the outcome of a campaign. In addition to the legal issues, there are public relations concerns to consider as well. Inviting all the candidates running for a particular office avoids these difficulties. JCRCs as representative bodies of the Jewish community have a right and an obligation to expose individuals or groups that foster anti-Semitism. Care must be used when an individual running for office expresses such views, though. Groups that do not routinely issue statements about anti-Semitic or anti-Israel individuals cannot start doing so during the heat of a campaign. With respect to invitations to participate in candidate forums, no Jewish agency has an obligation to provide a platform to an anti-Semite or extremist advocating violence. However, if the person in question otherwise meets the criteria for inclusion in the forum, the organization will have to choose between either inviting the candidate, as noxious as his/her beliefs may be, or not holding the forum. A final caution: forums should cover a wide range of issues. Focusing in on a limited number of issues, particularly where the views of the sponsoring 501(c)(3) are well-known (e.g. Jewish forums on Israel or anti-Semitism) could signal approval or disapproval of candidates and would likely run afoul of the IRS guidelines.

Candidate Appearances at Events Other Than Forums or Debates In general, during election season, it would be improper for 501(c)(3) organizations to sponsor non-forum events that feature a single candidate, or merely a select group of candidates. You may invite candidates to attend community events, but names should not be announced nor the candidates be given an opportunity to speak unless the same opportunity is afforded to all legally qualified candidates. Individuals, including elected officials, may be invited to speak in their capacity other than as a candidate, such as their expertise in environmental, military or legal matters – or at a situation such as a groundbreaking. Such programs must be handled with great care. All communication must clearly indicate the capacity in which the individual is speaking and no mention should be made of the candidacy in publicity or at the program itself. No campaigning should be allowed at the program including carrying placards, wearing buttons, or distributing literature.

Candidate Questionnaires Among the more difficult issues Jewish professionals face during the election season are those concerning the distribution of questionnaires to candidates and the dissemination of the data gleaned from the responses to the questionnaires. Please consult your national organization’s staff and local counsel prior to sending such questionnaires to candidates. In evaluating a questionnaire, its content is of paramount importance. Two factors are of greatest significance: neutrality and breadth of focus. It would be permissible to circulate an entirely neutral compilation of candidates’ 34


positions on a broad variety of issues, developed from a questionnaire mailed to all candidates, and presenting their responses in a completely neutral fashion without comparison to your organizational positions. Any questionnaire evincing a bias on certain issues or in favor of certain candidate(s) would be highly problematic.

Other Election Year Resources for Non-Profit Organizations • Election Year Issues: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/topici02.pdf • Voter Registration Resources: www.canivote.org, www.eac.gov/voter_resources/register_to_vote.aspx; www.rockthevote.org • Absentee Ballot Locator: http://www.longdistancevoter.org/ • League of Women Voters Election Information Website: http://www.vote411.org/ • Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism – Voter Information Center: www.rac.org/vote • Charities, Churches and Educational Organizations – Political Campaign Intervention by the Internal Revenue Service: http://www.irs.gov/charities/charitable/article/0,,id=155030,00.html • Tax Guide For Churches and Religious Organizations: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/topici02.pdf • Tips for explaining what the boundaries are for partisan political activity in the 501(c)(3) workplace: http:// bolderadvocacy.org/blog/it%E2%80%99s-election-season-does-your-staff-know-your-policy-on-politicking

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Other Resources

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Sample Postcard Voting Reminder

Dear Friend, Federal elections will be held Tuesday, November 6, 2012. At stake are numerous local, state, and federal elections. Issues of concern to American Jews will be decided in the coming years by those we elect. Please be sure to cast your ballot.

Place Stamp Here

[IF YOUR JCRC OR FEDERATION IS PROVIDING TRANSPORTATION, ADD: If you need a ride to the polls, please contact our office at (PHONE NUMBER) to make arrangements.] The polls will be open from [HOURS]. As a Jew and American, it is your civic responsibility to vote. Every vote can make a difference. Enclosed is a special blessing you can recite while casting your ballot. Thank you,

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Sample Prayer for Voting

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Sample Letter to College Students

Dear Student, I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to urge you to register and vote in the upcoming election and to provide you with some information on voting procedures and options. The right to vote is a new one for you. It is also, in the scheme of things, a new and unusual right for us as a people; doubly precious to us as American Jews since in other lands we have been disenfranchised and disempowered. For a variety of reasons, including a high level of education, civic pride, belief in democracy, and gratitude for the right of full participation in American national life, American Jews have exercised their right to vote enthusiastically and in percentages far greater than the national average. Yet in general, voter registration and turnout among those of college age is notoriously low. Being new to the habit of voting plays a role in this, as does the fact that college students tend not to be permanently rooted in the communities where they live. And of course, people of all ages fail to vote out of indifference or a vague belief that one vote does not make a difference. But voting does make a difference. Politicians and the social policies they create decide life-anddeath issues: Who goes hungry and who is fed? Who is homeless and who has shelter? Who guards our planet and subjects it to risk? Who makes war and who makes peace and who fights those wars? Elected officials will develop policies helpful or hurtful to Israel; they can be influential in abandoning endangered Jews around the globe or in saving them. Our elected officials shape policy that affects us and should affect our Jewish sensibility. Your vote shapes and affects government. The process of registering and voting is fairly simple. Enclosed you will find a mail-in voter registration form. All you need to do is fill it out and mail it to the Board of Elections in the state in which you wish to vote. You may use your college or home address, but please note that registration rules vary from state to state. If you are registered to vote using your home address, but will be out of town on Election Day, you will need to apply for an absentee ballot. An absentee ballot application is enclosed. Please fill it out and mail it today. The deadline for filing the application is [DATE]. The ballot you will receive in the mail is due on [DATE]. If you want to register and vote using your college address, we can help you find out where and how to register in that state. Participating in the democratic process is a privilege and a responsibility we all share. Enclosed is a special blessing you can recite while casting your ballot. Please be sure to register and vote. With all good wishes, JCRC Chairperson and JCRC Director

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Sample Candidate Forum Guidelines CANDIDATE FORUM 17TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT Sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council And The Northside Citizens Coalition PROCEDURES AND RULES 1.

All qualified candidates or authorized spokespeople currently running in the race for the 17th Congressional seat have been invited to participate in this forum.

2. Candidates will be seated at tables on the stage in alphabetical order by political party. The forum moderator, Metro Monthly Editor Mark Peyko, will also be seated on the stage. 3. JCRC President Bruce Lev will officially welcome everyone to the event and introduce the moderator. 4. The moderator will inform all those in attendance about the procedures and rules for the evening. 5. The moderator will then introduce the forum participants in the order in which they are seated. 6. A panel of two community leaders will be asking the candidates various questions during the first part of the program. The moderator will introduce the members of the panel, who will be sitting to the side of the stage. The two members of the panel, which is comprised of one representative of the JCRC and one representative of the Northside Citizens Coalition, are YSU Professors Dr. Saul Friedman and Dr. Paul Sracic. 7. The official timekeeper for the forum will be seated at a table in front of the stage in plain view of all candidates. 8. Each candidate will have two (2) minutes to make an opening statement. The order of candidate opening presentations will be determined randomly, with all candidates present, just prior to the beginning of the forum. 9. The actual substantive portion of the program will be separated into two parts. The first part, lasting a total of 30 minutes, will consist of questions from the panel directed at the candidates, while the second part, lasting 30 minutes, will consist of audience questions. 10. The rules for the first part, in which the panelists ask questions, are as follows:

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Each panelist will direct a question to a specific candidate. The candidate will have up to two (2) minutes to respond to a direct question. The question topics may include issues of concern to the JCRC or the Northside Citizens Coalition or other general issues related to Congress and the Mahoning Valley.

Other candidate(s) will be permitted up to one (1) minute for rebuttal to a direct question, if he or she so chooses.

No surrebuttal will be permitted, unless a rebuttal contains a personal attack against the original respondent. The allowance of surrebuttal will be in the sole discretion of the moderator. A candidate will have up to one (1) minute for surrebuttal, if allowed under this circumstance.

The order in which candidates are asked a direct question will be determined randomly. While each panelist may specifically direct a question to each candidate, all participants will have the opportunity to answer the same number of direct questions.


11. The rules for the second part, in which audience members ask questions, are as follows: •

All questions from the audience must be in writing (index cards for this purpose will be available on all the chairs before people sit down). The questions must be legible, and clearly state to which candidate or candidates it is addressed. The questioner need not identify him or herself on the card.

Audience members may write their questions at any time during the first part of the program. Periodically during this time, completed written questions will be collected. No audience member will be permitted to orally address any candidate from the floor.

JCRC and Northside Citizen Coalition representatives will screen the written questions. The order in which candidates are asked a direct question will be determined randomly.

A candidate will have up to two (2) minutes to respond to a direct question. Other candidate(s) will be permitted up to one (1) minute for rebuttal, if he or she so chooses.

No surrebuttal will be permitted, unless the rebuttal contains a personal attack against the original respondent. The allowance of surrebuttal will be in the sole discretion of the moderator. A candidate will have up to one (1) minute for surrebuttal, if allowed under this circumstance.

12. At the conclusion of the audience question session, each candidate will have up to two (2) minutes to make a closing statement. The order in which candidates may make these statements will be in reverse of the order of opening statements.

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October 3, 2007: Recommended by the Anti-Semitism and Constitutional Law Task Force October 10, 2007: Amended and Approved by the Executive Committee October 17, 2007: Approved by the Board of Directors Guidelines for Candidate Participation in MJCCR Sponsored Candidate Forums Background: IRS and Federal Election statutes permit a 501(c)(3) organization to sponsor voter education projects, such as candidate forums, if they are carried out in a non-partisan manner. The guiding principle for such debates is that there be fair and impartial treatment of all candidates, with nothing that promotes or advances one candidate over another. To ensure that candidate forums are fair and impartial, the Milwaukee Jewish Council for Community Relations will follow these guidelines: Only viable candidates will be invited to participate in candidate forums sponsored by the Milwaukee Jewish Council for Community Relations. Criteria for defining a viable candidate are defined as: 1. Has met all of the requirements of the Wisconsin State election laws to be included on the Wisconsin ballot, and 2. Must have garnered a minimum of 10% support of those queried in a recognized, public, independent poll, sponsored by a media outlet, foundation, or university and not generated by the campaign itself. The burden of proof is on the candidate to provide information to demonstrate that he/she meets the criteria at least two weeks prior to the scheduled forum. In the absence of any polling data for a particular race, all candidates who meet criteria 1 will be invited to participate in the forum. All viable candidates for a particular office will be encouraged to attend. If they are unable to attend, either initially or due to a last minute situation, the candidate will be invited to send a stand-in. If neither a candidate nor a stand-in is willing or able to participate, the forum will go forward with the other candidate(s) for the contested office. In the event that it is not possible to hold a forum, the MJCCR may choose to invite candidates to speak at separate events if the agency takes steps to ensure that: • An equal opportunity is provided to all viable political candidates seeking the same office; • No support for or opposition to the candidate is expressed (this should be stated explicitly when the candi date is introduced and in communications concerning the candidate’s attendance)

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Sample Candidate Response Website

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Sample Candidate Questionnaire

1. What role should the government play in catalyzing economic activity? What, if anything, can the government do to stimulate short term economic growth? What policies should be put in place to ensure long term fiscal sustainability? 2. What reforms, if any, would you propose to our immigration system to ensure national security and spur economic growth? 3. The United States, like all democracies, functions best when elections fully reflect the will of the citizenry. What reforms should be implemented in order to safeguard against fraud, improve our election system, and ensure that every eligible voter has the opportunity to cast a meaningful ballot? 4. What steps can be taken to ensure that the United States is both advancing its energy independence and environmental sustainability? 5. What it is your position on reproductive health decisions? Should the government play a role in facilitating and funding family planning services and if so, what should that role be? 6. In 2010 12,996 were murdered in the United States. Of those crimes, 8,775 were committed with firearms. What policies should be put in place to reduce violent crime and gun violence? 7. According to the most recent USDA statistics, 1 in 7 Americans and 1 in 4 children are food insecure. What is the government’s role, if any, in reducing hunger? 8. The federal unemployment rate continues to hover around 8% (and is _______in our community/ state/city). What policies do you support that would expand employment opportunities and spur economic growth? (note: state unemployment rates can be found at: http://1.usa.gov/LBVlyc) 9. What role, if any, should collective bargaining play in both the public and private sectors in our twenty-first century labor market? 10. What strategies do you support to ensure that nations like Iran are not able to obtain nuclear weapons? How might the United States utilize diplomacy and economic pressures to prevent the proliferation of these dangerous weapons? 11. How would you characterize the U.S.-Israel alliance, and what role should that relationship play in U.S. Middle East policy? What role should the United States play in the peace process?

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12. Do you support federal money being allocated to religious institutions for provision of social services or to parochial schools? What restrictions, if any, should be put on these funds? 13. Should the United States play an active role in preventing genocides and atrocities around the globe? If so, what courses of action, including diplomatic and military strategies, do you feel are appropriate and why? 14. How do you perceive of the role of the United States in Global leadership and our responsibilities in regard to foreign assistance? What is our responsibility monetary or otherwise, to assist emerging democracies in Central and Eastern Europe? Similarly what is our responsibility in meeting humanitarian needs in Central America and sub-Saharan Africa? 15. Should organizations, including religious organizations, have the ability to refuse to hire or to discharge an employee based on their sexual orientation and gender identity? Where should the line be drawn between religious liberty and non-discrimination in the workplace?

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Sample Ads

community forum on: payday lending • Presentations by representatives from the payday lending industry and from the Stop Payday Predators organization • Reflections by Rabbi Samuel Cohon, Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El, about what Jewish tradition teaches us about ethical business and lending practices

PlEaSE JoIn uS foR ThIS I M P o R Ta n T dISCuSSIon

• This JCRC Council Meeting is open to the community

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 • NooN

Jewish Federation of southern Arizona board room 3822 e. River Rd. • Free*

sponsored by

*Israeli lunch available for $8 - please RSVP and let us know whether you would like to order lunch by contacting Jane Scott at jscott@jfsa.org or 577-9393 ext. 114 We educate, We advocate, We make a difference.

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Summer in the City Speaker Series Heat up your summer nights with panel discussions that sizzle. We reserve the hottest topics for the hottest time of year. Free and Open to the Public Dell Jewish Community Campus • 7300 Hart Lane

Growing Up Austin: Smart or Out of Control? WeDneSDAy, JUne 18 • 7 PM Featuring Angelos Angelou, Principal of Angelou Economics; Sally Campbell, Executive Director of Envision Central Texas; and Larry Warshaw, Principal of Constructive Ventures

Is Austin a Terror Target? WeDneSDAy, JUne 25 • 7 PM Featuring Fred Burton, Counterterrorism expert at Stratfor and author of Ghost: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent, and FBI Special Agent G. Charles Rasner

What’s the Matter with Kansas electoral Politics? WeDneSDAy, JULy 9 • 7 PM Featuring former Bush advisor and ABC News Political Contributor Matthew Dowd; In the Pink Texas Blog Editor Eileen Smith; Harvey Kronberg of The Quorum Report; and Wayne Slater of The Dallas Morning News and author of Bush’s Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential Sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Community Association of Austin. To RSVP and for more information, contact Elaine Vasquez at (512) 735-8012 ext. 17 or elaine.vasquez@shalomaustin.org.

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CANDIDATES’ FORUM SERIES October 9, 2006 • 7:30 p.m. U.S. District 32

Pete Sessions (R) v. Will Pryor (D) Jewish Community Center – Zale Auditorium 7900 Northaven Road, Dallas October 16, 2006 • 7:30 p.m. Texas Governor’s Race

Rick Perry (R), Chris Bell (D),

Carole Keeton Strayhorn (I), Kinky Friedman (I) Jewish Community Center – Zale Auditorium 7900 Northaven Road, Dallas

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The New 14 T h CoNgressioNal DisTriCT

a Candidates Forum Sunday, July 1 • 3:30 p.m. Congregation shaarey Zedek 27375 Bell Road, Southfield Come and learn about the candidates running in Michigan’s new 14th Congressional District. Compare their positions on issues that are important to you and to the district and our state. The Civic engagement Coalition (CeC) is composed of organizations working together within the new 14th congressional district which represents the urban, suburban, ethnic, racial and religious diversity of the district and will focus on social justice and other important concerns. The new 14th congressional district stretches through southeast Michigan from Pontiac, West Bloomfield and Farmington Hills, eastward across the northern tier of the city of Detroit and into the Grosse Pointes, and then southward to include downtown and southwest Detroit.

Candidates invited: • Representative Hansen Clarke ( Democrat) • Bob Costello (Democrat) • John Hauler (Republican) • Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence (Democrat) • Representative Gary Peters (Democrat) • Mary Waters (Democrat)

Civic engagement Coalition Partners: Ameinu, B’nai B’rith, Congregation Beth Ahm, Congregation Beth Shalom, Congregation Shaarey Zedek, Congregation Shir Tikvah, Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan, Hadassah, Jewish Community Relations Council, Jewish Labor Committee, League of Women Voters, Metro Coalition of Congregations, Michigan Voice, National Council of Jewish Women, Temple Emanu-El, Temple Shir Shalom and Workmen’s Circle.

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Sample Email Notice

Be Election Ready! → Primary, Absentee and Early Voting*

Miami-Dade County Division of Elections Please visit the Miami-Dade County Division of Elections website for information related to absentee and early voting as well as the primary and general election. Click here to view the Miami-Dade County voter toolkit.

Primary Election** Date: August 14, 2012 Hours: 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. When voting at any voting location, whether at an early voting site or on primary election day, a current and valid identification with your name, photograph and signature is required. Acceptable forms of identification include: • • • • • • • • •

State of Florida Driver's License ID card issued by the State of Florida U.S. Passport Debit/Credit Cards Military ID Student ID Retirement Center ID Public Assistance ID Neighborhood Association ID

Note: While it is not mandatory to bring a voter information card, it may help expedite the voting process. If you registered to vote recently and you find that your name is not in the registration book, do not leave. First, ask an elections poll worker if there is a supplemental registration list. Second, ask the election worker to call the Miami-Dade County Elections office and issue you a provisional ballot.

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Absentee Voting Dates: Requests will be accepted for an election no later than 5:00 p.m. on the 6th calendar day prior to the election or August 8, 2012. Eligibility: Any registered voter who is eligible to vote in an election may request an absentee ballot. Absentee Ballot Request Form: Mail Attn: Absentee Ballot Section P.O. Box 521250 Miami, Florida 33152 Phone 305-499-8444 TTY Number 305-499-8480 E-Mail Absentee Ballot Section Early Voting Dates: Begins 10 days prior to the primary election, Saturday, August 4, 2012 until Saturday, August 11, 2012 Hours: 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. Eligibility: Any registered voter may vote during the scheduled early voting period at any of the designated early voting sites in Miami-Dade County with a valid ID. Early Voting Locations Aventura Government Center 19200 W Country Club Drive City of Miami – City Hall 3500 Pan American Drive Coral Gables Library 3443 Segovia Street Coral Reef Library 9211 SW 152nd Street Elections Department (SOE Main Office) 2700 NW 87th Avenue John F. Kennedy Library 190 West 49th Street Kendall Branch Library 9101 SW 97th Avenue Lemon City Library 430 NE 61st Street Miami Beach City Hall 1700 Convention Center Drive Miami Lakes Public Library 6699 Windmill Gate Road Model City Library @ Caleb Center 2211 NW 54th Street

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JCPA

JEWISH COUNCIL FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS

NEW YORK OFFICE 116 East 27th Street, 10th Floor New York, NY 10016 (212) 684-6950

WASHINGTON OFFICE 1775 K Street NW, Suite 320 Washington, D.C. 20006 (202) 212-6036

www.jewishpublicaffairs.org contactus@thejcpa.org

Jewish Values in Action Guide  

A Community Engagement Guide for Election Year Practices and Resources

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