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The Importance of Local Elections

Feeling like you’re powerless in the fight to protect the planet? Well, you’re more powerful than you think. The November elections in the US are quickly approaching, and you have the ability to make a difference: VOTE! While this is an “off-year election” it does include many local elections, like state legislative elections, mayoral races, initiatives, and a variety of other local elections that can have a big impact on the environment.

One of the best ways we can effect change is through voting, in each and every election. Voting gives power to the people and allows us to hold our leaders accountable.

The Environmental Voter Project estimates that over 12 million environmental voters skipped the 2018 midterm elections. Imagine the positive progress we could have made for the environment if more people had turned out for those races! Here are a few reasons why elections, especially local elections, are an incredibly powerful way to drive change:

Local government directly affects many aspects of your life.

    • Local and midterm elections are responsible for filling positions big and small, from Mayor down to Commissioners. Your local officials are directly responsible for making the laws and regulations that affect your community. They have authority over things like schools, affordable housing, public transit, and yes- your local environment! These officials have the power to protect (or harm) the natural environment, so it’s incredibly important to vote for leaders who understand the importance of protecting our planet.

 

Local laws can set precedents for future federal laws.

    • Local regulations can impact far more than just your community. Local regulations have a history of shaping federal-level policy, especially when it comes to grassroots environmentalism. What you do in your community matters, and it could help inform the future of federal policies.

 

Margins matter.

    • The New York Times estimates that only 27% of eligible voters participate in local elections. This means that the margin needed to win an election or pass a regulation is very small. Your vote very well could be the one that pushes the results in your favor!

 

Local Elections Matter!

Still don’t believe local elections matter? Our Plaine Products team members are here to tell you how they’re getting involved in their local elections:

“We have two candidates for mayor. The challenger is specifically running on a climate platform with more responsible development measures in place. The current mayor hasn’t taken any action on climate change, and we’re a coastal town, so the choice is very clear.” -Lindsey, CEO

“When it comes to your local school board elections, ask yourself about the candidates’ motivation for running. It should be focused on serving kids and the community, rather than a political or partisan agenda. At the end of the day, we’re all united in wanting kids to have the best education possible in a safe environment.” -Kim, Shipping Specialist

“Our elections here in New Orleans were postponed due to the catastrophic damage and disruption caused by Hurricane Ida. With a daunting future of strong hurricanes ahead of us, it’s important I show up and vote for candidates who take the threat of climate change and rising sea levels seriously.”- Becca, Social Media Coordinator

“We have a measure here asking to approve restrictions on some local park development. This would designate these parks as “Nature Preserves” and would restrict the amount of human-made structure and pavement in an attempt to keep these green areas as natural as possible.” Justin, Web Dev

 

Local officials are far more likely to listen to your opinions than representatives at the federal level. Make the most of this relationship by getting out and voting for leaders and laws that are important to you and the planet. Local, state and federal elections can all make a huge difference in our lives and the environment. Visit rockthevote.org to learn more about the issues and candidates on the ballot in your community!

Be sure you’re registered, get politically engaged, and make your voice heard! Vote at the ballot. Vote with your wallet. Vote for environmental progress and environmental justice.

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