Shaping peace together with the power of the vote
"Shaping Peace Together" is the theme of this year’s International Day of Peace, which falls next week on September 21. Also known as World Peace Day, it was established in 1981 by a unanimous United Nations resolution. It is a day to commit to peace around the world, despite all differences, and to contribute to building a culture of peace and nonviolence.
Here in the U.S., we at CCPJ plan to heed the words of John Lewis: “The vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have.” From now until Election Day, we will be focused on encouraging all voters to cast their ballots early. That is how we will commit to building a culture of nonviolence, and to shaping peace together.
Early voting in Virginia begins September 18, and CCPJ will target September 21, the International Day of Peace, to cast our ballots in favor of peace and justice. Some of us will vote by mail, others will vote in person.
You can get official information about early and absentee voting at https://www.elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/.
Two CCPJ members explain how they plan to vote early this year.
My plan is to use the absentee ballot as a safe and accessible way to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic. Virginia allows any registered voter to request an absentee ballot based on concern about potential infection. I already used this for a primary, and it worked smoothly.
My initial plan had been to fill out and mail my ballot on September 21, the International Day of Peace. However while the unofficial motto of the U.S. Postal Service included snow, rain, heat, and gloom of night as factors that might “delay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”; that was apparently a time when budget and/or politics were not realistic threats to prompt mail delivery. Unfortunately, today those are risks to consider.
In other words, I may not get my ballot exactly in time for September 21. My new plan is to be ready to vote the day my ballot arrives. I have already applied for it, and I’m educating myself in advance on candidates and questions that will be on my ballot. (I admit, this is out of character for a confirmed long-term procrastinator!) The day my ballot arrives, I will immediately fill it out. Then I will be the courier who completes my appointed rounds, by taking it right away to a mailbox that has the soonest scheduled pickup.
The work of peace is never-ending. So, even if it won’t be on the official day of peace, my vote will honor the theme, Shaping Peace Together.
I plan to vote in person on September 21, the International Day of Peace. To me, going to the Registrar’s Office is as safe as going to the grocery store. I’ll wear my face mask and observe social distancing.
I know that many voters will feel safer using the mail ballot, and that’s good too. With early voting in Virginia starting in September, we have a lot of time to get ballots in way ahead of deadline.
But for me, the chance to avoid any possibility of Postal Service delay or malfeasance outweighs the slight risk I might face in person. It’s important to me to have the least delay in counting ballots, so that on Election Day the results are known right away or soon after.
I live in Albemarle County, so I will take my ID and go to the Registrar’s Office in the (new) County Office Building at 1600 5th Street Extended. Maybe I'll see you there!
Charlottesville residents can go to the Registrar’s Office at 120 7th St. NE, City Hall Annex, Room 142.
ID requirements have changed, making it easier for voters to provide the necessary documentation.