The Importance of Voting

1 -  The first is a simple basic guide to locating your state and local representatives.

2 --  The lower is the most powerful story any animal protection person could read.  It should be  required  reading for all who claim to care for the animals.



Locate your local, state and federal representatives.  Ask them their thoughts on issues that are important to you, such as animal overpopulation, crime in your area for example.  Ask them how they've voted on these issues in the past.  HOLD THEM TO THIS.  If you find out they told you one thing, but did another, make it clear you will vote for his competition at the next election and let him know why.  Also, tell as many others as possible.  We don't take kindly to our government lying to us. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

The issue of voting is hot and seems to be gaining strength in recent years.  We need all the help we can get.  With apathy and misconceptions among today's youth, the voting turn out is surprisingly low.  As with the article written by a Nevada Senator for this site 'YOU HAVE ALL THE POTENTIAL' the simple act of becoming involved in your local and area government can truly make a difference.  Afterall, each and every elected official depends on your votes.  So, when a concern is brought to their attention, they will most likely take it to heart.  If your views are sensible or if they are shared by many others, it is likely that everything possible will be done to see that the problem is appropriately addressed.

This page for PROJECT VOTE SMART will help you easily find your local and area representatives and their contact information. It also has ideas and suggestions on how to increase local voter turnout in your community - especially today's youth.


The following is the ultimate goal we should all attempt to achieve if we honestly hope to ever make the difference in protecting the animals that we KNOW we could do.  We've been so very remiss in this area and it's just time people wake up and realize that the large national organizations aren't going to do what they promise, so its' really up to us.  A follow-up article to the one below is found by clicking HERE!


Humane USA claims primary election defeat of California bear hounder Rico Oller
                                                                     From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  April 2004:

Humane USA claimed its first win of the 2004 federal election campaign in the March 2 Republican primary for the open California 3rd Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Three candidates were entered:  California state senator Rico Oller,  former California attorney general Dan Lundgren,  and Mary Ose,  sister of retiring Republican incumbent Dan Ose. "Humane USA has endorsed Mary Ose,  and is targeting Oller with mailings,  radio advertisements,  and going door-to-door in the district," 

Humane USA announced a week before the voting. Humane USA targeted  Oller,  the announcement explained, because "He has sided against humane advocates time and time again during his tenure in the state legislature.

 He has sided with dogfighters,  cockfighters,  and puppy mill operators.  He has even opposed legislation to add a bittering agent to antifreeze,  toxic to companion animals and children.  Oller hunts bears with hounds," Humane USA charged,  "and has been the leading voice in the state legislature against efforts to ban this practice." Ose lost,  despite reportedly investing $800,000 of her own money in the campaign. Lundgren,  however, was declared the winner over Oller, 34,978 to 32,194,  after eight days of ballot counting and recounting.

Why You Should Vote in November by Julie E. Lewin President,  National Institute for Animal Advocacy President and Lobbyist,  Animal Advocacy Connecticut
How painful the presidential campaign is!  Again our noses are publicly rubbed in our political irrelevance.  John Kerry,  now the Democratic nominee,  found time in his frantic primary campaign schedule to "hunt,"  for all of five minutes,  posturing to win votes from hunters.

Vice President Dick Cheney and Chief Supreme Court Justice Antony Scalia soon afterward participated in a bird-killing spree. News media questioned not their thrill-killing,  but rather the impropriety of such ex parte contact between a judge and a litigant in a pending case.

As in other election years,  some animal advocates angrily contemplate sitting out the presidential election as a mute form of protest.  That would be self-indulgent.  Of course we should vote. The presidential candidates vary greatly in whom they would nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court,  a life appointment,  and to the Federal bench. 

The judges they select will determine whether animal rights and environmental groups achieve standing to sue on behalf of animals,  as well as the outcomes of actual cases. 
The candidates would likely appoint very different commissioners of agencies that impact the environment,  wildlife,  and the care of animals in factory farms,  laboratories,  and circuses.  The values and attitudes expressed by the President will also set the tone and themes of future Presidential and Congressional campaigns.

We should,  however,  ask ourselves why we are politically irrelevant,  despite representing a cause that receives donations from one household in four,  nationwide,  and we should work to change this. Hunters were not born with political power. 
They created it by organizing into national and state voting blocks,  which lawmakers know can determine the outcome of many elections.

Conversely,  it is the shame of the animal rights and animal welfare movements that for more than 130 years we have clamored for laws and policies on behalf of animals,  yet have avoided the political arena. Why don't more animal charities form auxilliary political organizations? Why do we not take a stand, role up our sleeves,  and set about the hard but necessary work of forming state,  county and municipal voting blocks for animals?

A voting block of just a few thousand voters can swing a Congressional election.  Many statehouse elections are won or lost by 100 or even a dozen votes,  as are municipal elections.  Lawmakers' fear of such elections gives organized minorities their power. In Connecticut,  my state,  approximately 2.5 million people are eligible to register to vote.  Barely two million have registered,  meaning that 20% of the potential electorate has yet to be mobilized.

 Only slightly more than one million people voted in 2002 for Governor,  for our members of Congress,  and for state legislative representatives.  Sixty percent of the public failed to express any political choice. Surveys indicate that women and young voters,  the very populations most likely to hold pro-animal views,  were among the people least likely to vote,  even though their votes could have ousted several incumbents with negative records on animal issues and enough accumulated seniority to hold disproportionate influence on key legislative committees.

Forty percent of Connecticut voters failed to cast a ballot in the exceptionally closely contested 2000 Presidential race,  and did not express their views about who should control Congress and the Statehouse,  either. Only 722,000 people voted in our 2003 municipal elections. Seventy-one percent of Connecticut voters allowed as few as 15% to determine critical issues involving animal control and wildlife habitat,  among other topics,  without even expressing a choice.

At the municipal level,  anyone who could mobilize even 5% of the voters would direct a  force that no politician could ignore. Contact your state elections agency and your local city hall or county seat to get the voter turnout statistics for your own location.  The potential for animal advocates to quickly alter the political arithmetic should quickly become evident. As the late U.S. Senator Paul Well-stone put it,  "Dare to imagine what politics can be!" And in the last words of early U.S. labor activist Joe Hill, "Don't mourn--organize!"

Julie Lewin founded the National Institute for Animal Advocacy in
2002 to teach political skills to animal advocates.  The next two NIFAA training seminars are to be held in Connecticut on May 23 and July 24.  Contact Lewin c/o <>;   203-453-6590.  Get further information about NIFAA at Lewin,  at <>.
"Don't waste votes again."

Animal people who say they can't support a hunter (John Kerry) for president scare me. Yes,  I was deeply disappointed to learn about Kerry's hunting.  It was a reminder that no pedestal is strong enough to hold any person for long. I fear this single perceived fault could cost America four more years of Bush--a disaster for the environment,  international relations,  civil liberties,  women,  children,  the economy,  our security,  the military,  working people,  old people,  sick people, and animals.

It is dangerous to suggest there are "worse" forms of hunting than others.  But if you despise trophy and "sport" hunting (canned or otherwise) as much as I do,  you want Bush and Cheney gone.  They both engage in these despicable activities and support them worldwide through their close ties with Safari Club International. After working to save mourning doves from target practice,  I was shocked to learn Kerry had hunted them,  as well as pheasants.

 I'm unaware of other animals Kerry may have hunted.   That is beside the point. Like it or not,  many Americans have grown up in a "hunting culture."   Hunting is a part of the American psyche that we must acknowledge and learn to understand while we discourage it. To those who insist that vegan Kucinich is "the one," I reply, "Wouldn't that be great?" 

He won't be.  Neither will Nader. We must not throw the baby out with the bath water.  It will likely be Kerry vs. Bush (and now--damn it!--vs. Nader).   Could you take a repeat of election 2000? Wake up to the American political system.  Don't waste votes again.  Votes not cast for Kerry can be considered as being given to Bush--and against all forms of life not boasting a large bottom line. --Judy Reed AnimalVoices Speaking For Animals & Their Environment
7267 S. Clermont Drive Centennial,  CO 80122
303-694-6522 < >

Merritt Clifton Editor,  ANIMAL PEOPLE P.O. Box 960 Clinton,  WA  98236

Telephone:  360-579-2505 Fax:  360-579-2575 E-mail:  Web: 
[ANIMAL PEOPLE is the leading independent newspaper providing original investigative coverage of animal protection worldwide, founded in 1992.  Our readership of 30,000-plus includes the decision-makers at more than 10,000 animal protection organizations. We have no alignment or affiliation with any other entity.]