By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson
Our mission is to end suffering for all animals, and this so often centers around boosting the public policy work of the humane movement. That’s why we encourage supporters to advocate for animal protection legislation and related proposals by contacting their elected officials and becoming more engaged citizen lobbyists. But we also count on those who care about animals to show it by voting in every election. We know from experience, as many of you do, that casting a ballot can really make a difference when animal welfare is on the line. We’ve proved it time and again, and so have you.
Like the hundreds of organizations supporting National Voter Registration Day, we’re taking the time to urge all our members and supporters to update their voter registrations and to make sure that they are prepared to vote in their communities. It’s a matter of being “vote ready”—ready to make your voice heard in our democracy.
Proper registration is one of the greatest obstacles to voter qualification, but it’s one of the most easily resolved. If you have moved recently, haven’t voted in a while, changed your name or are just turning 18, you may not be vote ready and you need to act. You can do something about it right now, using this simple tool to update your registration.
Plus, you can equip yourself as an engaged and active voter by making sure you know where your polling place is and taking stock of the candidates and issues on the ballot by studying and understanding policy positions.
You can also help spread the word among your friends and family to check their voter registration status. Our democracy works best when more citizens participate. We’re all better off when our elections reflect the views and values of everyone in our community. That’s one reason why we must work together to ensure that every eligible American is registered to vote. This is also the way to find more animal-friendly voters and harness their energies in pursuit of legislative and policy goals that are good for animals.
Elected leaders at all levels are making decisions that affect the fate of animals, every day and everywhere, in legislatures across the country. Whether it involves defending the Endangered Species Act, cracking down on puppy mills or providing greater protection for animals in laboratories or factory farms, ensuring the passage of groundbreaking local, state, and federal legislation is almost wholly dependent on the projection of humane voices and humane values into our democratic process. Every election can have profound impacts on our prospects for advancing animal welfare—and this year is no different. The record national turnout that occurred in 2020 is something to celebrate and build upon. That’s where you come in, and that’s why your commitment to voting is so important.
We have been working in this field for some time now, and it is difficult to imagine a time when the stakes have been higher. Elections are decided by those who vote—and to vote you must first be registered. Be vote ready—update your voter registration here—and then ask your friends and others to register, too. We’ve got lots of work ahead of us, and the strength of our voting power will translate into tangible gains for the animals we seek to defend and protect, now and in the future.
Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.