When one considers groups of likely voters, the Amish probably aren’t the first cohort to come to mind. To begin, this highly-religious, often secluded community generally avoids heading to the polls. However, in a highly-contested election cycle, considering all that’s at stake, there’s a grassroots effort afoot to court these individuals in both Ohio and Pennsylvania (two, important swing states).
Considering the religious community’s isolation, the choice to engage the Amish may seem curious. But, considering that approximately 60,000 adherents reside in Pennsylvania and another 60,000 in Ohio, their votes, especially in a close race, are precious. And considering that the Amish tend, on the rare occasion they vote, to align with conservatives, courting this population could greatly benefit Republicans.
Realizing the political power present within the Amish sphere, Sue Ann Miller, a resident of Lakeville, Ohio, decided to actively engage the cohort. WORLD Magazine has more:
Although Miller grew up Methodist, her husband’s parents were Amish (he can still quite literally “speak the language”—Pennsylvania Dutch), and she’s comfortable herself chatting with the Amish at flower and vegetable markets.
She’s so comfortable that not long ago she stepped up on a political soapbox during a conversation with an Amish man: “I kind of shook my finger at him and said, ‘You know, if you Amish would vote we wouldn’t have Barack Obama as president.’”
The man put his head down and answered, “I know.”
So, Miller got together with two friends and they decided to take action, printing up 400 to 500 fliers and setting up a table at local auctions and blood drives (the Amish frequently donate blood). The pamphlet, aimed at encouraging the group to vote, read, ”Do you pray for your garden? Of course you do. But you plant, cultivate, and harvest the fruit of your labor as well. This November your country needs you to do more than pray.”
Aside from providing these resources, Miller and her friends educated the Amish about Obama’s views on abortion, gay marriage and other related issues. When they became aware of these stances, many, Miller reports, were concerned. WORLD continues:
At a typical auction or blood drive, some Amish took the flyers, and some—perhaps a dozen on average—filled out voter registration forms. Others walked by, ignoring them. A man on a bicycle was enthusiastic. According to Miller, he came “barreling” up the road after hearing about the voter drive and stopped at the table so he could register, too. [...]
Miller hopes Amish concern for marriage, religious freedom, and the sanctity of life will motivate large numbers to walk or ride a carriage to the polls, or mail in absentee ballots, perhaps giving Republican candidate Mitt Romney the few extra votes he needs to win Ohio.
“This election is crucial for your family for generations to come,” Miller told the Amish who stopped at her table over the past several weeks. “They all agreed with me.”
Read the entire WORLD report here.