Join West Virginians Who Care About Clean Air, Land, and Water: Vote in the Primary Election!

By Sandra Fallon, WVEC President

One of the biggest environmental and climate movement challenges is that we don’t have enough voting power.  According to the nonprofit, nonpartisan Environmental Voter Project (EVP), one reason is the high number of people who identify climate and the environment as their Number One priority but are unlikely to vote.

The number of non-voting environmentalists in the U.S is staggering. “Over 8 million environmentalists did not vote in the 2020 presidential election, and over 13 million skipped the 2022 midterms.”

This year, EVP is working to change those numbers by encouraging 4.8 million people in 19 states to vote. The people they’re contacting are already registered to vote and care deeply about climate and the environment, but based on their voting histories, will likely not vote. 

As a West Virginian who cares about clean air, water, land and renewable energy, we urge you to join your peers around the state and vote on May 14. 

If you’re one of the 13 million U.S. citizens who skipped the 2022 midterms but care about the environment, join others who are changing their minds. If you’re registered to vote, you’re almost there! That means you’re active on the voting rolls. All you need to do is take the next step and vote on May 14.

A West Virginian and a long-time advocate for a clean environment, Jim Kotcon, Chair of the West Virginia Sierra Club, underscores the importance of engaging with candidates and voting. “The legislators we elect to office have a big influence on the bills we hope to pass or stop.” 

Kotcon describes a lesson he learned back around 1990. He had been pushing for the Ground Water Protection Act for several years. Senators would give him three minutes to discuss the bill, thank him, and then vote against the bill. When he visited a newly elected Senator who supported the bill, that Senator offered to strategize and share his office and his phone to garner support. That convinced Kotcon about the importance of having the right people in those positions.

Kotcon suggests that engaging with candidates right from the start can make a difference. Candidate forums allow citizens to ask questions and share information, data, and personal experiences about their environmental concerns. These forums generate press coverage and can help publicize environmental issues citizens care about. Kotcon cites that 95 percent of information a legislator uses to make decisions is communicated verbally. “If we are not at these events talking and engaging with candidates, our environmental concerns will not be heard.” 

The same is true for voting. 

You likely work hard to put your environmental values into action—from recycling to being energy efficient to driving a hybrid car and more. You’re likely engaged in your community and registered to vote. So you’re almost there! On May 14, join West Virginians who care about clean air, land and water, and vote!

Find your sample ballot here!

Voting and Candidate Information 

Legislative Scorecards

  • League of Women Voters of West Virginia – 2023, 2024
  • WV Sierra Club – 2023-2024

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