Every Voice, Every Vote: Reflections on the 2022 Midterms and What Comes Next

November 16, 2022Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner

As the votes continue to be counted in the 2022 midterm elections and we look ahead to the Georgia runoff, I am full of deep gratitude. With so much at stake, including the integrity of our democratic institutions, Reform Jewish activists showed up in record numbers to make sure every voice was heard, and every vote was counted.

In this week's Torah portion, Eliezer is offered food by Laban after a long journey and he proclaims, "I will not eat until I speak!" (Gen 24:33). Eliezer's plea evokes the same urgency that the 2022 election evoked in the real lives of our citizens, and the lengths many had to go through in order to make sure their voice was heard by the counting of their votes.

While we wait for the final results to come through, we can pay tribute to the power and the impact that nonpartisan, grassroots, faith-based movements like ours have to make change on such a wide scale. The Reform Movement's nonpartisan Every Voice, Every Vote 2022 Campaign resulted in a record high level of engagement, powered by a strong network of 600 leaders. Through their efforts, 6,500 members of the Reform Movement mobilized to reach out to voters and encourage their participation in the election. In total, over 650,000 voters were contacted through phone calls, postcards, text messages, and canvassing.

This year, we built a movement and a campaign where everyone could find their place. The partnerships we built on the national, state and local levels not only carried us through this election year, but they have also set us up for the 2024 presidential election cycle, when protecting the right to vote will again be essential.

Nearly every issue of importance to the Reform Jewish community, including reproductive rights, voting rights, criminal justice reform, LGBTQ+ rights (including marriage equality) and climate justice was at stake this year. Through our efforts, our community was able to contribute to key ballot measure wins in states across the country, including:

  • Passage of constitutional protections for abortion access in Michigan, Kentucky and Kansas
  • Investment of $4.2 billion in clean air, clean water and clean jobs in New York
  • Passage of a constitutional amendment to pave the way for early voting in Connecticut
  • Passage of a ballot measure in Massachusetts to uphold a law securing access to drivers' licenses for all residents, regardless of immigration status.

While we take the time to celebrate our successes, we remain profoundly aware that our work is far from over. With a runoff scheduled in Georgia, ensuring voters can freely cast their ballot and have their vote counted remains imperative.

As we look to the future, please continue to stay updated on our work by following the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism on Facebook,Twitter, and Instagram for up-to-the-minute updates, and sign up to receive emails to continue your engagement beyond election season. And look out for updates at rac.org/evev for further news and learning opportunities in the aftermath of the 2022 election season.

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