A California megachurch that collected nearly 20,000 ballots in the last two elections is encouraging churches nationwide to host ballot collection efforts to boost Christian turnout in the 2024 election as Americans grow increasingly willing to cast their votes before Election Day.
Through its Real Impact ministry, Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, led by Pastor Jack Hibbs, seeks to equip churches “to stand for righteousness in the public square.” The ministry’s leader, Gina Gleason, says the megachurch, which has about 10,000 regular congregants, first got involved in ballot collecting after laws changed in California.
“We saw that ballot collecting or ballot harvesting, the way they describe it in legislation … was passed into [California] law in 2016,” Gleason recalled, noting it was “first implemented in the 2018 election.”
The new legislation resulted in “significant wins” for Democrats and progressive candidates that year. After that, “we decided that we would do the same activity at the church because it was legal.”
“The California law says that a person can turn in a ballot for any person,” Gleason told The Christian Post. “Prior law said that you had to be a family member or reside in the same household. Well, that was abolished, and it just opened it up to anyone … whether it’s a neighbor or a stranger knocking at your door. So, anyone can turn in a ballot for a voter. And there is no limitation on the number of ballots that you can turn in.”
Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, a national Evangelical advocacy group and think tank, told attendees at an event on Oct. 3 that “if we want to win, we need to take advantage of the laws.”
“Let me just encourage you to take advantage of our opportunities to vote early,” he said. “Let me give you an example in Arizona in the midterm election. Some of you may have heard what happened when there were issues with the voting machines and people were waiting in lines for hours, and some people gave up, and they went home. Well, what happened was the not-so-conservative party had banked a lot of votes before Election Day. But conservatives, we like to vote on Election Day. … But if we want to win elections, we need to take advantage of the laws.”
Gleason spoke at the FRC’s Community Impact Training, where she said she felt the Lord calling on her to get involved. After Gleason researched the topic, Pastor Hibbs told her, “We need to do ballot collecting.” She assured the pastor that she was “already working on it….”
Gleason estimated that Calvary Chapel Chino Hills collected approximately 6,000 ballots in the 2020 election cycle. That number increased to 13,335 in the 2022 election cycle. She vowed that we “will be conducting the same type of activities that we conducted [during] this last election in 2022 and prior elections….”
“Our local school district was run by progressives,” she declared, specifically referring to “Planned Parenthood-supported candidates” as well as those endorsed by “Democrat leadership.”
“Tony Thurmond, who is the California [state] Superintendent of [Public] Instruction, actually came out to walk door-to-door for one of the progressives because they wanted to hold on to this seat,” she continued. “The reason he did that was because he knew that our large church was very involved in what’s going on in the community and they wanted insurance.”
Gleason said the progressive candidate lost, expressing gratitude that Calvary Chapel Chino Hills member Sonja Shaw was elected president of the Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education….
Gleason hosted an all-day workshop at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills on Oct. 21, where she discussed ballot collecting for churches, voter registration laws and “legal do’s and don’ts for churches.” The workshop is designed for pastors, church representatives, members of church community impact teams as well as organization leaders and teammates.
From The Christian Post