As the November 6 election approaches, questions are arising concerning whether or not parishes can distribute voter guides or rankings of candidates. IRS rules for tax-exempt organizations prohibit churches from endorsing or opposing candidates for public office. Violation of this prohibition can lead to revocation of tax-exempt status.
Churches can provide voter education on where candidates stand on a variety of issues. This voter education material must be non-partisan. The Missouri Catholic Conference has prepared voter education material, including the results of a survey of candidates for state and federal office. See MCC Releases Candidate Survey Results, Election Resource Kit. In addition, Catholics may look for guidance from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and in particular the voter education document entitled Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. This document can be accessed at the USCCB website. For more guidance refer to What Churches Can and Cannot Do During Elections.