With the 2020 U.S. election season well underway—not just for the president but for many other national, state, and local elections—we haven’t heard enough about the essential role that science plays in our society. Scientific research is a critical part of understanding how climate change will affect our lives, addressing and preparing for natural hazards like hurricanes and earthquakes, and of supporting our economy—science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills are needed for 67% of jobs in the United States today.
With the crucial role that science plays in society, scientists should be speaking up during elections to make sure these issues are covered by the candidates and that their colleagues and anybody who cares about science are voting. Yet in 2018, only 34% of STEM students voted, lower than the voting rate for students of any other academic field.
To increase the representation of scientists at the polls and provide ways for scientists to speak up for science, AGU is launching the Science Votes the Future campaign. The campaign features tools to get your fellow scientists to polls and a 2020 Voter Pledge. We will make it easy to share scientific information with people running for office in your district, from talking points on key science issues to ideas for ways to engage with the candidates and your community. Science Votes the Future aims to help scientists engage in the election process, highlighting the need for candidates at all levels to include science as part of their platform.
In March, we want to get scientists to the polls. Sign up and share our 2020 Voter Pledge to receive reminders about your state primaries. If you want to get more involved, we have information to get to your candidates about climate change, health, natural hazards, STEM education, and other science topics. In the months to come, we’ll highlight how to volunteer with a campaign, attend district events, and get out the vote.
With this effort, AGU aims to increase the percentage of scientists and STEM students who vote in the 2020 elections. We hope to see a greater number of scientists engage with candidates and elected officials and to hear more candidates discuss the value and importance of science.
AGU would also like to hear from any of you who are inspired by Science Votes the Future to act—whether that is voting, engaging with candidates, or encouraging your colleagues. Ultimately, we hope that this is just the beginning of a greater voice for scientists in the election process.