Wildlife Need Us to Count Every Vote

Free and fair elections are at the heart of our identity as a nation and they are central to the National Wildlife Federation’s mission of uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world. Our work is devoted to raising up your voices—the six million birdwatchers, gardeners, sportswomen and sportsmen, teachers, faith leaders, parents, and everyone else who supports our “big tent” approach to conserving wildlife and their habitats.

You are what gives us the power to make a difference for wildlife. We know that when people are asked to vote for wildlife on ballot measures or for pro-wildlife candidates, they regularly do by overwhelming margins. We also know that we will not be able to protect habitats, to combat climate change, to defend our public lands, to pass down our outdoor heritage or to ensure clean water and clean air for all without a healthy democracy and a fair elections.

Now, for the first time in history, we are voting during a pandemic and many people are choosing to vote by mail—approximately 85 million absentee ballots have been requested nationwide. 

It’s an unprecedented situation, complicated by the fact that several states are not permitted to begin counting absentee ballots until Election Day, often not until polls are closed. In Pennsylvania, requests for absentee ballots have jumped by 2,650 percent over 2016 and ballots that arrive three days after the election are eligible to be counted. In North Carolina, another swing state, ballots that arrive as late as Nov. 12 can be counted as long as they are postmarked by Election Day.

In short, it is entirely possible that we will not know the total vote count for days or potentially even weeks after November 3rd. 

In order to sustain the public’s trust in the fairness of the election, no candidate should prematurely declare themselves the winner and state governments must designate electors who abide by the final vote count, whatever the outcome. That is why we hope that our supporters will join the National Wildlife Federation in demanding that every vote is counted.

I hope that you’ll share this message with your friends and family and prepare those in your network to wait for a full vote count using the hashtag #CountEveryVote:


If we work together to share this message and demand that our voices and our votes be honored at every step of this process, we can protect our democracy and our nation’s wildlife.

*P.S. Before your vote can be counted, you have to vote! Check out our voting resources and make your plan to vote. If you’ve already cast your ballot, many states have resources for tracking your ballot to ensure that it has been received.

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Published: October 28, 2020