The Amish are attracting new attention for their potential voting power and, in turn, have become more politically involved. The Economist (Oct. 16) reports that Republicans have been courting the Amish in the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Ohio.
The election boards in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and Holmes County, Ohio, have seen a surge in Amish names among those registering to vote. The article adds, “The Amish seem to feel that one of their own is in the White House. Mr. Bush’s foreign wars do not accord with Amish pacifism, but his religious conviction and his stance on social issues [such as on gay marriage and abortion] have got their hearts aflutter.”
Although some church leaders are still cautioning against voting, the matter is left up to each individual, and some Amish have even joined activist ranks, launching informal voter-drives. One danger of the Amish entering politics is that they may draw criticism for the privileges they have won to maintain their culture, such as exemption from Social Security taxes, as well as draw more unwanted publicity to themselves.