The following comes from an Oct. 6 story on Inland Catholic Byte, an online publication of the San Bernardino diocese.

With voter participation spiraling to record low numbers in the two counties of the diocese of San Bernardino and an important national election approaching, an effort is underway to increase voting among Catholic and other faith communities here.

The Diocesan Office of Social Concerns and Inland Congregations United for Change, a faith-based community organizing group with strong Catholic ties, are helping parishes form civic engagement teams that will urge parishioners to vote in the November 4 general election. The parish teams will also urge support for State Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act. The measure would allow those who commit six specified non-violent offenses to have their conviction downgraded from a felony to a misdemeanor, with the savings generated from reduced prison populations going toward mental health and drug abuse programs, K-12 education for at-risk youth and victims services.

At press time, civic engagement teams were already in place at ten parishes including Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral and St. Bernardine Church in San Bernardino, St. Joan of Arc parish in Victorville and four parishes in the Coachella Valley. Eight other parishes are in the process of forming teams. ICUC is attempting to form a total of 40 civic engagement teams in Catholic and other denominations.

“This is a real opportunity for folks to get some experience in building social concerns ministry capacity at the parish level and to put faith into action,” said community organizer Thomas Weiler. Community organizers conducted trainings of those who are serving on the parish civic engagement teams in September and the parish teams were then to start inviting parishioners to sign cards pledging to vote. Volunteers will next follow-up by phone with voters in their parish using voter registration lists cross-referenced with the signed pledge cards. Finally, the parish civic engagement teams will canvass homes around their churches in an effort to reach vote-by-mail voters….

To read the original story, click here.