Diocese pushes registration
Michael J. Sorba, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/18/2010 06:13:42 PM PDT

The Diocese of San Bernardino wants its parishioners to vote not just as a matter of patriotism, but of faith.

On Tuesday, the diocese, which covers San Bernardino and Riverside counties, will host a voter registration workshop in San Bernardino to train parishioners on how to organize and conduct their own voter registration drives.

“It’s your duty as an American to vote,” said diocese Communications Director John Andrews. “What we’re saying is, `It’s really your duty as a Catholic to vote.”‘

The idea is promoted at churches through a concept called “faithful citizen,” Andrews said. It states faith compels Catholics to participate in the political process and be involved in public policy issues, Andrews said.

Tuesday’s event will first reiterate the concept and then lay out the nonpartisan guidelines parishioners must follow when registering people.

Since the diocese is a nonprofit organization, it’s illegal for anyone to perform partisan voter registration on its behalf, Andrews said.

“We take that very seriously,” he added.

Parishioners will be trained how to help someone fill out a voter registration form, mail them to the Registrar of Voters Office and how to obtain permission from a church if they wish to perform the registration drive on its behalf, Andrews said.

Lily Rivera, treasurer for the League of United Latin American Citizens of the Inland Empire, said her group is also working to get more voters registered before the Nov. 2 election.

“We hope to become united to any effort that’s out there to register non-registered voters,” she said.

The league will be working with Mobilize the Immigrant Vote California Collaborative to visit areas where voter registration numbers are low and go door-to-door asking residents to register, Rivera said.

Mobilize the Immigrant Vote is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works in “immigrant communities and building their capacity to register, educate, and mobilize their constituents for electoral participation,” the group’s Facebook page said.

Maribel Nunez, the group’s San Bernardino project coordinator, said it will focus on registering Latinos and foreign-born citizens in the city’s 1st and 6th wards. The group will then work to register all groups in the 2nd Ward, Nunez said.

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