Democracy Takes Time

The most important thing to remember this election season: every vote counts

I’ve talked a lot about how the events of 2020 are “unprecedented”—so much so, that now the word fails to capture just how unusual this year is.

As we settle into the fall, I am reminded again of how the challenges we face are unlike anything we have ever seen before. We live in a historic time—for better or for worse—and we are all grappling with the emotional toll of a global pandemic, racial injustice, a contentious election—all of this on top of a growing climate and biodiversity crisis. It is a lot to contemplate.

Given the pandemic, this election season is already unusual—and it’s far from over. With each passing day, it seems more likely that a decisive outcome might not be apparent on November 3. This year there are expected to be more mail-in ballots than ever before. Counting those ballots takes time. We’ve also seen significant lines at early voting locations. Personally, I am preparing myself for uncertainty immediately following Election Day, and, I’m focused right now on encouraging everyone to make a plan to vote.

As much as we might want to close the book on the election season, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of democracy in the days or weeks following November 3. The most important thing is that every vote is counted. It’s our job as citizens and as part of civil society to hold our government accountable for a fair and democratic process. It is the foundation of our nation.

The process of the 2020 election is simply different. With more absentee ballots than ever before, it will take longer than usual to count them all. Although this can be stressful, it also means people are balancing health, distance or other concerns, while still prioritizing their right to vote. We need to fight against voter suppression, misinformation and anything else that threatens to destabilize our democracy.

If you’ve submitted your ballot already—thank you. If you’re voting in the coming weeks, I encourage you to join me and figure out your voting plan. There are many online resources to look up your polling place and see what’s on your ballot.

At Ocean Conservancy, there are core beliefs that power our work. We know that more unites us than divides us. We put our trust in science. We believe that by sharing the wonders of our ocean with people, people will act to protect it. We also believe in the power of our democracy and our democratic institutions, and that by raising our voice in support of issues we care about, we can truly create change that is better for the ocean and better for all of us who depend on the ocean.

We believe in these things because we see them in action. Every day, I work with people who embody these core beliefs: communities who speak up to protect their coastlines, policymakers who enact legislation that conserves our natural resources and people like you who take action in their own backyards to help the environments they care about.

Although this is an unprecedented time in our history, I am inspired by the passion of individuals who are dedicated to making sure this election season is fair and democratic. I know we will get through this—together.

So remember, make a plan, VOTE, and stay with us through the uncertain weather ahead.  Our ocean needs you.



Our work is focused on solving some of the greatest threats facing our ocean today. We bring people, science and policy together to champion innovative solutions and fight for a sustainable ocean.
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