Vice President Kamala Harris is taking part in a video campaign being aired in black churches in Virginia ahead of the Nov. 2 statewide election encouraging parishioners to vote for Democrat gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.
A report in Yahoo News said the campaign “raised eyebrows regarding the legality of bringing political campaigns into houses of worship.”
In the video Harris said she sang in church when she was growing up.
“We sang hymns about how faith, combined with determination will see us through difficult times,” Harris said. “And we were taught that it was our sacred responsibility to raise our voice, and lift up the voices of our community.”
Harris then tells congregants to vote for McAuliffe.
“One of the most significant ways I believe that we can each use our voice is through our vote,” Harris said. “So Virginians, you have the opportunity now to raise your voice through your vote, because it’s election time.”
“As you know, this is an important election coming up on Tuesday, November 2, and early voting is already underway,” Harris said. “I believe that my friend Terry McAuliffe is the leader Virginia needs at this moment.”
Harris credits McAuliffe with creating jobs in the state the last time he was in the governor’s mansion in Richmond and that he would raise the minimum wage and give “every child a world class education.”
“In 2020 More Virginians voted than ever before and because you did, you helped send President Joe Biden and me to the White House,” Harris said. “This year, I know that you will send Terry McAuliffe back to Richmond.”
Harris touted that Virginia law allows early voting on Sunday ahead of the election.
“So, please vote after today’s service,” Harris. “And if you cannot vote today, make a plan to go vote.”
NEW — More than 300 Black churches across VA will hear from @KamalaHarris btwn Sun. and November 2 in video message that will air during morning services as part of outreach effort aimed to boost @TerryMcAuliffe.#VAGOV
— Eva McKend (@evamckend) October 16, 2021
The video is only one part of McAuliffe’s religiously minded “Souls to the Polls” media blitz. The “Souls to the Polls” events will be hosted weekly and are intended to encourage residents to vote on Sundays, with the first event held on Oct. 17, according to 10 Wavy.
Twitter users critical of McAuliffe pointed to the prohibitions the IRS has set for churches and asked if McAuliffe and Harris were risking the income tax exemption that any or all of the churches enjoyed. Since 1954, Congress has prohibited all 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches, from participating in political campaigns in order to maintain their exemption from income tax.
A recent Trafalgar Group survey of 1,095 likely election voters showed Youngkin with 48.4 percent of the vote to McAuliffe’s 47.5 percent putting Youngkin in the lead for the first time.
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