Exercising your civic responsibility to vote goes well beyond being “excited” about a particular candidate or issue. Regardless of the circumstances of a given election, it’s your duty to reject apathy, resist discouragement and embrace your role as a citizen. Therefore, preparing to vote can be an exciting opportunity to engage in the “ministry of voting” by considering the direct and indirect impact your vote has on your community, state and nation. Your vote makes a practical difference when it comes to key moral issues, including, life, marriage and family, religious freedom and the freedom of both speech and worship in the public square.

In a presidential election year, much of the press focuses on who will hold the nation’s highest office. However, it’s critical to remember the impact of voting down the ballot. This election also will decide:

All 435 members of the U.S. House Of Representatives;
34 seats (one-third) of the seats in the U.S. Senate, many of which are in key competitive states;
12 state governorships;
the makeup of 87 percent of state legislative chambers nationwide; and
more than 85 important ballot measures in 30 states.

The federal court system, including the U.S. Supreme Court, is an important element of this year’s election, especially in terms of religious freedom. Did you know that in an eight-year span, a president could make as many as 600 appointments to federal courts? That’s fully one-third of some of the most important judgeships in the nation.

While most Americans will not directly engage the federal court system, court rulings by these unelected judges impact the moral climate of our nation―as well as our daily lives—through issues like the redefinition of marriage, mandatory taxpayer funding of abortion, parental rights in education, privacy rights and the freedom of speech. 

Your vote will ultimately help determine whether our elected leaders appoint judges who strictly interpret the U.S. Constitution, or who create laws from the bench.

Focus on the Family® wants you to be a registered, informed and engaged voter. That’s why we’ve created a dedicated website, Commit2Vote2016.com, to serve as your family’s “resource hub” during this pivotal election season.



Originally published in the August 2016 issue of Citizen magazine.