Oberon Zell calls for a voter registration drive

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TWH – In the U.S., allegations of voter suppression have been reported by The New Yorker, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and others. One type of voter suppression involves the aggressive purging of voter rolls. Rock the Vote allows people to update their voter status, register to vote, and learn about identification requirements, etc.

Just because one has voted in the past does not necessarily mean that one is still registered. Individuals who have registered in the past should check their voter registration status to make sure they have not been removed from the voting rolls.

Civil rights organizations and local party headquarters generally provide information to guide citizens on how to check their registration status. Most states offer online resources, and 39 states allow residents to register to vote online.

One well-known wizard and elder in the Pagan community is looking to help with voter registration.

Oberon Zell-Ravenheart of the Church of All Worlds has begun a campaign to register Pagans to vote in 2020. The Wild Hunt reached Zell on the road driving to the American West to discuss his goal of registering “at least a million Pagan voters.”

The second part of that goal involves those Pagans “voting in the 2020 elections, via a massive voter registration campaign.” Zell wants to see “voter registration materials and info at all Pagan festivals in the US.”

Zell links this project with the 2020 Vision: Waking the World.

Oberon (Tim) Zell, an important figure in the early Pagan councils.

Oberon Zell-Ravenheart

 

Zell has called for “voter registration tables at all Pagan gatherings, conventions, festivals, [and] Pagan Pride events.” Festivals have certain challenges since they tend to be regional, drawing participants from many different states.

In the U.S., each state has its own rules for elections and voting. Zell plans to have voter registration forms available for the state with the most likely attendees. He also plans to have material available for other states as well.

While voter turnout matters as much voter registration, voters must first be registered before they turn out to vote. Zell would like to see Pagans getting “together [at] voting parties with a bunch of friends and showing up at the local polling places en masse wearing pentagrams.” Zell wants to see people start using the hashtag “#iampaganandivote.”

According to Zell, the following Pagan organizations are involved in this project: The 2020 Vision Project, The Aquarian Tabernacle Church, The Church of All Worlds, and the Grey Council. Other Pagan organizations can become involved through the 2020 Vision: Awakening Coalition.

Zell’s website has ambitious numbers for Pagan voter registration. They noted, “that the best estimate we can make, based on inadequate hard data, is that the number of Wiccan [i.e. Pagan] adults in the U.S. had increased from 602,000 in 2008 to two million by the end of 2015. If one were to include teens, which religious surveys generally don’t, we estimate over three million [Pagan] practitioners were active in the U.S. by mid-2018!”

Currently, only two festivals are noted on the 2020 Vision Awakening site as having agreed to have voter registration tables on site. Starwood 40 in Wisteria, Ohio occurs from July 7 through July 13. Dayton Pagan Pride Day occurs in Dayton, Ohio on September 19.

While it is possible that Pagan groups in the U.S. may have worries about their tax-exempt status if they register voters, according to Zell, organizations that have 501(c)3 tax status can register people to vote. They cannot, however, endorse candidates without risking that tax-exempt status. In other words, non-profits can urge members to vote and advocate on issues, but they cannot say who to vote for.

Visibility has its risks. If other groups find out that Pagans were registering to vote, they might “demagogue” it. That prospect fails to scare Zell. “Let ‘em bring it!” he said. “The publicity would galvanize our people!”

Zell urges everyone to check out the 2020 Vision Awakening website. He would like people to share their “own Visions, rituals, essays, etc. 2020 Vision isn’t an organization: it’s a networking project for the entire Pagan community. And there’s a lot more to it than the voting aspect!”

Zell quotes on the website Sam Shyrocks 8 reasons why Pagans should vote. He writes “1. Because Voting is Very Pagan! Voting is an ancient Pagan tradition. Apathy, on the other hand, is a modern invention – it suits those in power very well indeed, but it dis-empowers you!”

People wanting more information on can sign up for the 2020 Vision: Awakening Coalition Mailing List.