March 20, 2019

Reviving the AtheistVoter Campaign

American flag

In 2014, American Atheists launched the #AtheistVoter campaign. It sought to increase the participation of atheists in the political process. Specifically, atheists were encouraged to engage our elected officials and candidates running for office on social media using the #AtheistVoter hashtag. By using this hashtag, the rest of us could see what they were up to, learn from their examples, and take similar actions ourselves. I thought this was a great idea and was happy to support it. Unfortunately, the campaign was limited to two weeks and did not receive nearly enough publicity to have much of an impact.

The run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election saw a rebirth of the #AtheistVoter campaign. Atheists were encouraged to register with the campaign's website and encourage other atheists to pledge to vote. The earlier goal of encouraging atheists to be more visible to our elected officials and to candidates running for office was still there; however, it was not explained well enough or adequately promoted. Despite some of us doing what we could to continue promoting the campaign, it seems like most people lost whatever limited interest they had after the election.

Personally, I'd like to see the #AtheistVoter campaign become something more than a half-assed effort we try for a couple weeks before every election and then forget about until the next one. It does not look like American Atheists is particularly invested in this, but I think that's okay. We can do this without them. Here's what I'm suggesting:

  1. Follow your elected officials and/or those running for office on social media.
  2. Communicate with your elected officials and/or those running for office on social media about issues related to secularism, the separation of church and state, or whatever else is important to you.
  3. Include the #AtheistVoter hashtag when you do.

This will allow the rest of us to see what is going on (i.e., we can use #AtheistVoter to search Twitter and other platforms). We can learn more about the officials' and/or candidates' positions. We can also follow your lead and contact other officials and/or candidates. At the moment, I am interested in learning more about the current presidential candidates; however, I see no reason to limit these efforts to presidential candidates. Remember, we are seeking to let elected officials and those running for office know that many of their constituents and/or likely voters are atheists. We want to show them that we are politically involved and paying attention.

The last and most important thing I want to request is for you to please be respectful in your communication with elected officials and/or candidates. The name-calling is counterproductive and will accomplish nothing positive.