Faith-based groups hitting the road to encourage Pennsylvanians to vote

The three-week effort aims to encourage people to vote throughout Pennsylvania.

Voters cast their ballots in the Pennsylvania primary at the Elkins Park School polling place

File photo: Voters cast their ballots in the Pennsylvania primary at the Elkins Park School polling place. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

The Freedom Express starts this week in Philadelphia with plans to travel to more than a dozen Pennsylvania counties. The bus tour will urge people to vote in a state that could be crucial to the midterms nationwide.

The group is mindful of the separation of church and state, said Bishop Dwayne Royster of the group Power Interfaith. He says the non-partisan tour will encourage everyone to exercise their right to vote for the candidate of their choice.

“We recognize that there are some people that are claiming the terms of faith, whether they’re Christian, nationalist or white Christian nationalists, who have a very exclusionary view of what government and what society should be,” Royster said. “We just disagree with that completely.”

“We believe this is an absolutely critical moment and we’re going to do everything we can. We’re leaving nothing on the table as we go out across the state,” Royster said. “We’re going to do everything that we can to encourage people to get out the vote, to help them understand what’s at stake this election season, to help them understand that some of the rhetoric that they’re hearing cannot simply be ignored as hate or ignorance and that, you know, it’s really detrimental if we don’t stop the hate that’s being perpetrated in politics today.”

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About 100 people will ride the buses going from place to place to encourage people to vote in November. The bus will travel from Philadelphia to Scranton, then head through the Lehigh Valley and into Berks County.

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