Vote Your Vote: I'm Looking for Candidates that Prioritize Conservation

June 2, 2020 | by Torin Miller

Today is primary election day in my home state of Pennsylvania. The polls are open for folks to cast their votes for both state and presidential candidates they would like to see on the ballot come November. Our primary day was rescheduled due to COVID-19, and the postcard we received in the mail notifying us of the date-change triggered me to look at the ballot ahead of time. It’s pretty straightforward – I’m limited to voting for the party I’m registered with, and most candidates are unopposed within the party. It seems easy to make a decision when you only have one choice.

But then I thought about it a little more. Voting really isn’t straightforward at all. It’s a fundamental right granted to most Americans via the Constitution. While so many people across the globe do not have this same right, many Americans, myself included, often take our democratic method of governance for granted. It’s easy enough to skip out on your civic duty when you have limited options, such as state and presidential primaries. I fall into the same trap that many others do – maybe I’ll just trust the judgment of others. Does my vote really matter? Will anything really change?

That’s a nasty trap to fall into though, and I’ve determined that I’ll take advantage of my fundamental right to vote every chance I get. I’ve committed to researching candidates to determine which ones best represent my interests and concerns. Other than the health and security of my family, these interests and concerns revolve around conservation, climate and the environment. I’m looking for state and federal leaders who will commit to conserving our natural places and landscapes, leaders who will maintain public access to outdoor recreation opportunities and leaders who will ensure that hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts for generations to come have pristine lands and waters to escape to. Now, more than ever, hunters and outdoor recreators need leaders at the state and federal levels who will protect the things that we love so much.

These platforms mean more to me by-far than party affiliation. Sure, other factors influence my voting decisions, too. And they should. But I guess what I’m ultimately saying is this: vote based on what you’re passionate about. A little research goes a long way. Find the candidate, any candidate, that best represents you and yours, and that’s the best you can do. Politics isn’t always pretty, and it doesn’t always feel like it works, but that’s no reason to give up on it. Your vote does matter, and we can collectively effect change. I’m heading to my polling place right now to conserve and impact wild deer, wild places and wild-at-heart folks. Will you join me?