Has there ever been more riding on one election? Climate change and the fate of our planet, police reform and systemic racism, environmental protections for our air, water, and oceans, female reproductive decisions, protecting public lands, the pandemic and the economic downturn that has come with it, the integrity of our democracy, and SO. MUCH. MORE. I know. It’s been an overwhelming period full of change and challenges and learning. But I can tell you from experience, that there is no “sailing away” from the issues we are facing as a global community. We must stay empowered, inspired, and hopeful. My fellow U.S. citizens, what happens in the U.S. affects the entire world, so whether you are living in the US or abroad, we must flex every bit of our power to protect our planet and those most vulnerable right now! And that means ensuring we cast our in the upcoming election this November 3rd.
With the pandemic bringing new obstacles to the voting process, I want to encourage you to make your voting plan as soon as possible! Vote the planet! Vote the people! Vote the ocean! Vote climate action! Vote social justice! Instead of thinking, “Oh it’s only one vote, what does it matter?” … Think of it as if your one vote is representing all of the people around the world and the wild animals who cannot cast a vote in this election. So much is on the line right now!
Are you sure you are registered? Do you prefer to receive an absentee ballot? Will you fill it out and mail it back, or drop it off at your local polling place? Do you prefer to vote in person? Do you know when your polling place opens? Many polling places are open before Nov 3rd, so you can drop by and vote or drop off your ballot before there’s a line! Lyft is even offering free & reduced rides to the polls on Election Day.
Speaking of polling places, the US is facing an unprecedented shortage of poll workers due to the pandemic. This could mean closed polling places, long delays, and extra challenges to voters. If you are living in the USA and at minimal risk for COVID19 and want to help ensure that we have a safe, fair, efficient election for all voters, you can sign up to be a poll worker in your community. Patagonia, Inc along with a coalition of businesses and nonprofits helped launch Power the Polls, to recruit a new wave of poll workers — especially among younger, more diverse populations that have not historically filled these roles. Power the Polls will direct you to the application for your community. You’ll need to fill out the application and then, once the city contacts you, attend a training, so act fast! Most states pay poll workers for their time too.
The presidential race is clearly a big one, but we need change on all levels, and that means learning more about the candidates in your local and state elections, along with Propositions and Measures on the ballot for your zip code. Ballot language for measures—propositions, initiatives, etc—can be very confusing, so do some research and make sure you understand whether a Yes or No aligns with your values. We recommend looking at a voter’s guide written by a person or organization that you feel represents your values. Check out voters guides by League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, and Planned Parenthood. For local candidates and ballot measures, google a guide local to your voting area by a source you trust. A few internet searches can be really helpful! Your vote matters!
- Vote.org helps you easily register to vote, learn about your states deadlines and requirements, double check your registration!, request an absentee ballot, and find your polling place.
- FVAP.gov helps military and overseas voters make sure they know how to vote from wherever they are.
- Early Voting Polling Place Locator
- Make Time to Vote –encourage your employer to join the movement to give employees the time needed to ensure that they can vote.
- Know Your Voting Rights! This link can help you find a solution to any problems that come up as you cast your ballot.
- Track your ballot. In most states you can sign up to receive updates on your vote-by-mail ballot via text (SMS), California’s tracking tool can be found at: WheresMyBallot.sos.ca.gov
- You can help encourage others to vote by sending handwritten letters. Vote Forward is a movement to help register voters from under-represented demographics and encourage them to vote by sending handwritten letters. This method has been shown to increase voter turnout and, in the midst of COVID-19, is an important tactic while door to door canvassing isn’t possible. Sign up to write hand-written letters to voters, here.
- Have you read the Green New Deal? Check out this most comprehensive climate action legislation ever proposed!
Lastly, a little reminder to take a moment during this wild time to center yourself and fill up your cup as much as possible right now. My morale has been up and down lately, but I’ve been doing my best not to get overwhelmed and paralyzed by all the dark news and madness right now. We need those working for a better world to stay strong, active, and vigilant right now! Sending love to you all. Xo, Capt Liz