2016 Elections

We commit ourselves to ongoing education of ourselves and others in areas crucial to our life and ministry.
-IHM Assembly 1987 on Education

The Issue

“In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation,” write the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. The Bishops urge citizens “to see beyond party politics, to analyze campaign rhetoric critically and to choose their political leaders according to principle, not party affiliation or mere self-interest.”

To help navigate the political landscape, the IHM Justice, Peace and Sustainability Office has compiled the following resources to help voters discern political choices based on principles of Catholic social teaching; understand the impact of money in politics and critically analyze campaign ads and statements.


The Context

Exactly 40 years ago, in a presidential election year and in an America racked by attacks on its ideals, Margaret Brennan, IHM, took on the issues of faith, freedom and the future in an address in Richmond, Va. What is happening to America, she asked, and how should God’s servants respond? Sister Margaret challenged her listeners four decades ago to look inward, and then act in the real world. Is her assessment of the times and her call to action still relevant in the 21st century? What has changed and what remains the same? What individual lessons might we glean from her vantage point? Download the full address.

Commentary: Pope Francis’ Impact on the Catholic Vote in 2016
By Simone Campbell, SSS, The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 4, 2016

“…He has energized Catholics to embody the center of our faith – active concern for the common good and attention to the needs of those around us.”

Proclaiming the Good News
By Nancy Sylvester, IHM, Global Sisters Report, March 30, 2016

“Too often, I hear from people that when they gather with their family they don’t talk politics. I think we have to. Can we find ways to invite those who are angry, fearful, frustrated to explore the ‘why’ of their feelings? Can we find ways to share Jesus’s message of equality and mutuality? Can we find ways to open up one’s world view?”


Faithful Citizenship

Voice for Justice newsletter
St. John Fisher Chapel University Parish, Oct. 2016

This newsletter from the St. John Fisher Chapel University Parish  Justice and Peace Ministry focuses on the common good and resources for voting on Nov. 8, including information about the Regional Transit Authority ballot proposal. 

Study the ‘Signs of the Times’ This Election Season
Pax Christi Anti-Racism Team, Oct, 5, 2016

Pax Christi USA approaches the upcoming national election through the lens of their Vision Statement: “guided by the spirituality of nonviolence, we advocate and provide leadership for disarmament, demilitarization and reconciliation with justice, inclusiveness, economic and interracial justice, human rights and care of creation.”

The Issues, The Candidates and Your Vote: Calling for Dignity in the Public Square
Michigan Catholic Conference, October 2016

Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) provides information about the upcoming election, discusses conscience formation and lists questions to consider before voting.

LCWR Region VII Justice Promoters 2016 Voter Guide
Indiana/Michigan Justice Promoters, 2016

The Justice Promoters of several religious congregations in Michigan and Indiana have created a voter guide that examines issues from the perspective of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops document, Faithful Citizenship alongside the platforms of the Democratic and Republican parties issued from their conventions.

Election Resources from the Congregation of St. Joseph of Nazareth
The Peace and Justice Team of the congregation of St. Joseph publishes this weekly e-newsletter. The following six editions of the newsletter are on issues related to the elections.

Election Issue: Gun Violence
Election: Refugees
Election: Human Rights
Election: Economy / Mend the Gap
Election Issue – RACISM
Election Issue: Immigration

Election Toolbox
Education for Justice, 2016

This collection of resources, both new and revised,  is designed to help guide discussion and discernment in the weeks leading up to the election.

Voter Discernment Guide
Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center, Sept. 2016

This one page guide highlights five different issues and offers insights from faith traditions and questions for discernment

Pope Francis Voter Guide
May 25, 2016, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good

As we live out this Jubilee Year of Mercy and the United States enters into the 2016 election season, Americans face a myriad of choices between competing visions for our nation’s future. As Catholics, we are called by our faith to engage in this election. Pope Francis says that “a good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of one’s self so that those who govern can govern well.”

Revolution of Tenderness: A 2016 Election Voters Guide
Franciscan Action Network, March 2016

Guided by Catholic Social Teaching, this guide offers questions to ponder on how candidates are speaking about the issues.

Faith, Values and the 2016 Election: Toward a Politics of the Golden Rule
By Faith in Public Life, March 2016

This Election 2016 reflection guide was produced by Faith in Public Life with help from Interfaith Power & Light. The issues addressed in  it — immigration, climate change, gun violence, economic inequality, mass incarceration and militarism – are  ones that many people of faith will consider when casting their vote this year.

The Greatness of a Nation
By Robert McElroy, America Magazine, Feb. 15, 2016

“The contrast between the beautiful vision of politics that Pope Francis presented to the United States and the political campaigns that have unfolded in the past several months could not be more heartbreaking.”

“What Do We Desire?” The Future of Faith and Citizenship

Serene Jones won an Award of Merit in the long-format theological reflection category for this article, that was published in Reflections, the magazine of Yale Divinity School. Serene Jones is a Yale professor. She is the first female president of Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

This recently revised statement urges Catholics to be involved in public life and to use the values of their faith to shape their political choices. It does not tell Catholics who to vote for, but rather to make choices that promote the common good. See “Bishops pass ‘Faithful Citizenship,’ some call for new document” for discussion about the most recent revisions.

Principles and Policies for Christian Voters

This issue guide for Christians, published prior to the 2008 elections by Sojourners, urges voters to create a more just and peaceful world organized around the following principles and policies: compassion and economic justice; peace and restraint of violence; consistent ethic of life; racial justice; human rights, dignity and gender justice; strengthen families and renew culture; and good stewardship of God’s creation.


Voting Basics


League of Women Voters: Voter 411

With this League of Women Voters’ guide you can see the races on your ballot, compare candidates’ positions side-by-side and print out a “ballot” indicating your preferences as a reminder and take it with you to the polls on Election Day. Visit: League of Women Voters of Michigan for local resources.

Everything You Need to Know About the Presidential Primaries

Millions of voters will vote in the presidential primaries. The rules about the primaries, including when they are held and who can participate, vary widely by state. Here’s a quick look to help answer your questions about this pivotal part of our voting system.

2016 Primary Results and Calendar

The 2016 primaries and caucuses have begun. Candidates will seek to win delegates in each state’s contest to capture their party’s nomination for the presidency.

Common Cause National

Common Cause is fighting to ensure that every adult American has easy access to the ballot and that every vote is counted as cast. Visit Common Cause Michigan for local resources.



Prayer For The Elections

As we consider our consciences ahead of the election, this prayer seeks discernment in service to the common good

Prayer for Understanding and Integrity in the Voting Process

Pax Christi Anti-Racism Team, Oct. 3, 2016

Information about the Candidates


Where the Candidates Stand on 2016’s Biggest Issues

The New York Times compares candidates’ statements on gun control, immigration and more.

2016 Candidates On the Issues

This sheet gives the links to the pages where you can find where each candidate stands on various issues.

Election 2016: Lesson Plans and Digital Resources for Educators

These open educational resources and digital collections range from the 2016 campaign, to more general United States government lesson plans. The majority of them are free to use.

Comparing/Contrasting Democratic and Republican Party

This comparison examines the differences between the policies and political positions of the Democratic and Republican parties on major issues. These two parties dominate America’s political landscape but differ greatly in their philosophies and ideals.

Presidency 2016

An overview of all of the parties and candidates

Analysis of Campaign Ads



This site monitors the factual accuracy of what is said by major United States political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases.


FlackCheck.org uses parody and humor to debunk false political advertising, poke fun at extreme language and hold the media accountable for their election coverage.


PolitiFact is a fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others who speak up in American politics.

Michigan Truth Squad

Michigan Truth Squad analyzes and cries “foul” on misleading and negative TV and Web campaign ads for state races.


Resources on Campaign Finance


The Story of Citizens United

This short animated video by Story of Stuff creator Annie Leonard explores the history of corporate political spending, the appropriate roles of citizens and for-profit corporations in a democracy and the impact the Citizens United Supreme Court decision is having on our political process.

Move to Amend

Move to Amend seeks to amend the Constitution in order to end corporate personhood and restore democracy back to the elections process.

Six Steps Away from Citizens United

Here are six actions the federal government could take to control and reverse this damage and strengthen democratic elections in the wake of the Citizens United and McCutcheon rulings.