(Chicago, IL) October 27, 2020 – Today a group of 15 environmental advocacy groups from around the country, led by the Alliance for the Great Lakes, is releasing a statement regarding the importance of protecting American democracy in advance of the November 3, 2020 presidential election.

While this election amid a global pandemic may be unlike any other the country has faced, this group of nonprofits stands firm to say that every eligible person should be able to vote safely and have their voice heard.

Their statement is as follows:

“Engaging in the democratic process by voting is one of the most powerful ways Americans can have a voice on issues they care about, including protecting our nation’s land, water and air. Democratic engagement, especially voting, is imperative to the success of equitable environmental policies.

Recent efforts to reduce voting access by purging voter rolls and enacting new identity verification rules have predominantly impacted voters of color. Important public health and safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have led to fewer polling locations and long lines in some areas. This makes it more challenging for the elderly and for people who cannot afford to take hours, or even a full day, off work to vote. For those who want to vote via absentee or mail-in ballots, confusing and archaic rules may end up invalidating legitimate votes. And news reports from around the country show that threats of violence and intimidation of voters and poll workers are on the rise.

Our position this election season is clear: Everyone who is eligible to vote deserves the right to do so safely, free of barriers and intimidation. Anything less is unacceptable. We urge election officials and political leaders to ensure a fair and equitable elections process.”

Statement signatories:
Alliance for the Great Lakes
We the People of Detroit (Detroit)
River Network (Boulder, CO)
Junction Coalition (Toledo, OH)
Freshwater Future (Petoskey, MI)
Environmental Health Watch (Cleveland, OH)
Drink Local Drink Tap (Cleveland, OH)
Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Peninsula, OH)
Ohio Environmental Council (Columbus, OH)
Environmental Law & Policy Center (Chicago)
Genesee Valley Audubon Society (Rochester, NY)
Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership (Cleveland, WI)
Milwaukee Water Commons (Milwaukee, WI)
League of Women Voters of Wisconsin(Madison, WI)
Religious Coalition for the Great Lakes

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For media inquiries, contact Jennifer Caddick, Alliance for the Great Lakes, at jcaddick@greatlakes.org.