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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

On National Voter Registration Day, remember what’s at stake for animals

As part of our fundamental mission, we encourage our members and supporters to advocate for animal protection by contacting elected officials about pending legislation and related matters. But we also ask you to stand up for animals by casting your ballot in elections at the federal, state, and local levels. We know, and we’ve tried to show you, that it really counts when animal welfare is on the line. 

Photo by Dana Sweet/

Last year, for example, we prevailed in two decisive and historic ballot initiative victories, one for farm animals in California and another for greyhounds in Florida. In addition, we helped to elect some strongly supportive legislators to the Congress and to state legislatures across the country.

These successes came because good people voted with the animals in mind. But to vote, you’ve got to register.

That’s why the Humane Society Legislative Fund is a proud partner and supporter of National Voter Registration Day. We’re part of a coalition of hundreds of organizations across the country, urging our members to update their voter registrations and to make sure that they have met the qualifications to vote in their communities. Together with our partners, we are asking you to be vote ready—and ready to make your voice heard in our democracy.

Proper registration is one of the greatest obstacles to voter qualification in the United States, 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, for example, you may not be vote ready. You can do something about it right now, by using this simple tool to update your registration.

There are other things you can do to position yourself as an engaged and active voter. Be sure you know where your polling place is.  Be aware of the candidate and issues that are on the ballot. Study and understand candidate positions to determine which ones are right for you—you can use our Humane Scorecard to see how your legislators have voted on animal welfare issues. All of this goes into being “Vote Ready.”

There’s something else, too. Our democracy works best when more citizens participate. Put simply, we’re all better off when our elections reflect the views and values of everyone in our community. One of the best ways to do that is to work together to ensure that every eligible American is registered to vote.

From the White House to your local town hall, we need your help, and your active participation. Elected leaders at all levels are making decisions that affect the fate of animals. Protecting the Endangered Species Act, cracking down on puppy mills, and passing groundbreaking local, state, and federal legislation are almost wholly dependent on the projection of humane voices and humane values into our democratic process.

I have been working in this field for three decades, 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.

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