Vote as if your life—or your child’s life—depends on it. It does, in a general if not a direct way. The future state of our climate, environment, health, and civilization—not only in the United States but around the world—will be greatly affected by who is in charge or in a position to obstruct progress (nationally and locally) over these next few years and beyond. It is critical that all of us environmentally-conscious voters vote in every election, including primaries as well as mid-term (non-presidential) elections, such as the 2014 U.S. election on Tuesday, November 4. Every election is important.
The candidates and major parties are not “all the same” as each other, and it’s naïve, dangerous, and self-defeating to believe or say that they are. If Republicans take majority control of both houses of Congress (the Senate, as well as the House), pro-environmental legislation won’t stand a chance of being passed; and the Republicans have made it abundantly clear that they will actively try to dismantle existing environmental laws and regulations—as they’ve tried to do many times via their House votes, though so far the Senate has been able to block most of their attempts because of the Democratic majority there.
If you live in the United States and you would like to be represented by more elected officials who support environmental safeguards for our air, water, and land, take a good look at the resources provided by the League of Conservation Voters. LCV “is a national non-profit organization that works to turn environmental values into national priorities. To secure the environmental future of our planet, LCV advocates for sound environmental policies” and works to “elect pro-environment candidates who will adopt and implement such policies.”
LCV endorses pro-environment candidates (or at least candidates who are far more green-leaning than their viable opponents). See their list of current ENDORSEMENTS here. Senate candidates whom they’ve endorsed for the upcoming (2014) election include: Cory Booker (NJ), Kay Hagan (NC), Mark Udall (CO), Gary Peters (MI), Jeff Merkley (OR), and Bruce Braley (IA). A few of the House candidates they’ve endorsed are: Brad Schneider (IL), John Lewis (MT); Michigan candidates Pam Byrnes, Jerry Cannon, and Dan Kildee; and California candidates Mike Honda, Julia Brownley, Pete Aguilar, and Raul Ruiz, among others. In the 2012 election, almost all of the LCV-endorsed candidates won their races; but keep in mind that that was a presidential election year, when far more voters (especially Democratic voters) show up to vote than they do for mid-term elections.
The Sierra Club also makes many endorsements. And a newer organization, Climate Hawks Vote, has endorsed: Gary Peters and Paul Clements in Michigan, Scott Peters in California, and Shenna Bellows in Maine.
More than 30 states now have their own state-level LCVs, which hold state elected officials accountable on various environmental issues. Click on the map at that link to find the website for your state’s LCV and learn about your state and local candidates.
One of LCV’s flagship reports is its annual National Environmental Scorecard, which shows how each congressperson voted on every environmentally relevant piece of legislation. You can search the Scorecard by state, zip code, a congressperson’s name, or by year. Or you can download a PDF of the entire Scorecard. LCV’s website also features several petitions and actions that people can participate in. Some other ways to get involved with and support the League of Conservation Voters are to: join their Facebook page or follow their Twitter feed; share their videos; sign up to be on their mailing list; or donate to LCV or to specific pro-environment candidates.
Other important links for the upcoming election:
- Sierra Club’s endorsements
- NextGen Climate
- Climate Hawks Vote
- Climate Scores (grades on representatives’ climate policies)
- Voter Participation Center
- Brennan Center for Justice
- Patagonia’s “Vote the Environment” posters/artwork
Make sure you are able to vote:
- Verify that you are still registered to vote: Go to CanIVote.org and click on your state and follow the links, or contact your county’s elections office. Thousands of voters have been purged from the voter rolls in several states. Make sure you aren’t one of them.
- Register to vote, or re-register to vote (if you’ve moved or changed your name or been wrongfully purged from the registration system): Pick up a voter registration form at a Post Office (or a library or government building) in your county; or go to RockTheVote.com, or 866OurVote.org, or to your county’s election office to register. Be sure to register before the deadline for your state, which is often sometime during the month before the election. And if there’s a chance you won’t be able to get to the polls before they close on election day (the upcoming national election is Tuesday, November 4), fill out the absentee ballot form to receive a mail-in ballot before the specified deadline. Help get other people registered to vote by participating in voter registration drives or sending these registration links to people you know, especially to college students and other young (18+) voters who have never registered before.
- Get info on your polling location and hours, as well as voting requirements in your area (e.g., voter ID requirements), and report any voting problems: Go to Election Protection’s 866OurVote.org website, or call 1-866-OUR-VOTE, or email email@example.com.
- Find out whether your state’s voting systems are reliable and publicly verifiable: Go to VerifiedVoting.org: working for election integrity/preparedness, i.e., reducing the odds of electronic and physical vote tampering, to try to ensure and verify that every vote is counted as cast.
- And last but not least: please vote—not just for your own sake, but for the sake of your family, future generations, other species, and the environment, atmosphere, and climate that we all share and depend on for life. Thank you.