Safeguarding the election &
preparing for nonviolent action afterward
Thursday, October 22, 2020

"Reflecting on the events of 1989 [the fall of the Berlin Wall] in his 1991 Encyclical
Centesimus Annus, my predecessor [St. John Paul II] highlighted the fact that
momentous change in the lives of people, nations and states had come about 'by
means of peaceful protest, using only the weapons of truth and justice'. This peaceful
political transition was made possible in part 'by the nonviolent commitment of people
who, while always refusing to yield to the force of power, succeeded time after
time in finding effective ways of bearing witness to the truth'.” 

~ Pope Francis. World Day of Peace message, 2017

Greetings of peace!

We are less than two weeks away from Election Day, the possibility of a contested election, and the likelihood that social and political unrest may follow, especially when our current president has given no assurance that, should he lose, he will commit to a peaceful transition of power. Pax Christi USA is committed to supporting fair and transparent elections, assuring the integrity of the democratic process, and that all parties honor the results.

Many of you have been active in protecting voters' rights, organizing Get-Out-The-Vote efforts, making sure people can get to the polls, validating that your polling locations are taking extra precautions because of the pandemic, and educating your families, friends, colleagues, fellow parishioners and others. On Election Day especially, we must do what we can to assure that people can vote in confidence, safely and free of intimidation. But chances are the work will not be over that night. A contested election, a drawn out ballot count, the failure to commit to a peaceful transition of power (should that be the voters' will), political propaganda meant to sow confusion and division, and various other scenarios -- all this could mean that we need to be ready to put into practice our commitment to active nonviolence. In the days following the election, as needed, protest, demonstrations, marches, organized resistance and noncooperation are all tactics we can employ to assure the vitality of our democracy and that the voice of the people is honored and respected.

You'll find in this PSA resources for safeguarding the election process, securing democracy, and resisting any effort by the powerful to dismiss the will of the people. You'll find additional resources on our webpage "Elections 2020 - #VotePax" on the website under the heading "On Safeguarding the Election Process".

Know that no matter what happens in these next weeks, we are bound together as one family, the body of Christ called to be the peace of Christ in the world. We're ready to resource you for further prayer, study and action in the days ahead as a result of what happens on Election Day.

Peace be with you my friends!
In solidarity,

Johnny Zokovitch
Pax Christi USA Executive Director
A prayer for leadership
by Joan Chittister, osb, Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

Give us, O God, leaders whose hearts are large enough
to match the breadth of our own souls
and give us souls strong enough
to follow leaders of vision and wisdom.

In seeking a leader,
let us seek more than development for ourselves–
though development we hope for–
more than security for our own land–
though security we need–
more than satisfaction for our wants–
though many things we desire.

Give us the hearts to choose the leader
who will work with other leaders
to bring safety to the whole world.

Give us leaders who lead this nation to virtue
without seeking to impose our kind of virtue
on the virtue of others.

Give us a government that provides
for the advancement of this country
without taking resources from others to achieve it.

Give us insight enough ourselves
to choose as leaders those who can tell
strength from power, growth from greed,
leadership from dominance,
and real greatness from the trappings of grandiosity.

We trust you, Great God, to open our hearts to learn from
those to whom you speak in different tongues
and to respect the life and words of those to whom you
have entrusted the good of other parts of this globe.

We beg you, Great God, give us the vision as a people
to know where global leadership truly lies,
to pursue it diligently,
to require it to protect human rights for everyone everywhere.

We ask these things, Great God, with minds open to your word,
and hearts that trust in your eternal care. Amen.

Additionally, a group of people within Pax Christi USA have committed to praying "A prayer for this election season," by Sr. Dianna Ortiz, OSU, daily from now through the end of Election Day. All within the Pax Christi USA community are invited to pray it daily at 12pm ET (11am CT, 10am MT, 9am PT). Click here to see this prayer on our website with links for downloading it as a prayer card.
We can help prevent an election crisis. Here's how.
Seven concrete steps to safeguard the integrity of the vote
by Rose Marie Berger, Sojourners
In the event of a contested election, with misinformation campaigns targeting the media, threats or eruptions of social violence, and confusing political maneuvers at the state and federal levels, trusted faith-based institutions and leaders serve as intermediaries to synthesize and disseminate news and mobilize effective nonviolent action to defend our democracy. Here is what you can do.


Scenario: Voting places are closed, and mail-in ballots are restricted because there are too few election workers due to COVID-19 concerns.

Tip: Democracy is a team sport. Everyone can be an election worker. Commit a certain number of people from your church to register as poll workers and mobilize medical personnel to speak on coronavirus-safe voting practices. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission hosts a video explainer and training information for each state, and you can support efforts to recruit young poll workers through


Scenario: Voters receive phone calls, flyers, emails, or social media posts notifying them of alleged changes in the standard voting process, such as a new polling place, a security breach in private voter information, or notification that the voter is no longer eligible to vote.

Tip: Check all information through the National Association of Secretaries of State “Can I Vote?” page. If you discover false information, file an incident report with the Election Protection coalition ( Alert others by commenting on false information that you see posted online, and do not repeat, repost, or retweet false information…

For additional pieces diving deeper into our Statement of Principles, past election year statements, and more, go to our #VotePax - Elections 2020 webpage and look under the headings "Study" and "Other Resources & Past Statements".
Safeguard the election process
& prepare for nonviolent action afterward
Pax Christi USA is committed to supporting fair and transparent elections, assuring the integrity of the democratic process, and that all parties honor the results. Below are resources for defending democracy in the lead-up to the election, on Election Day, and afterward:

  • Choose Democracy: Includes a pledge to take nonviolent action if a coup is attempted, get trained for actions, ideas on what you can do to defend democracy, and more.
  • An election season message for our brother priests, a sign-on opportunity for deacons, priests, pastors and bishops from Pax Christi USA priests on preparing faith communities to use the time between now and Election Day to address people’s anxiety and tension by cultivating our commitment to the common good, respect for individual conscience, belief in the promise of nonviolence, and trust in the democratic process.

Join virtual trainings for nonviolent action related to post-election scenarios:

Spiritually prepare yourself for nonviolent action by (re)taking the Vow of Nonviolence.