This Election, Be a Voice for Science and Democracy

Published Nov 18, 2019

If you’re passionate about science and the values of equity and integrity in our democracy, join us to bring those values to the forefront this election.

Astrid Caldas speaks at The Rally to Stand Up for Science in Boston on February 19, 2017

Science is a vital tool for a just, functioning democracy—it helps us understand the problems we face and make informed decisions for the public good. But when our leaders and elected officials sideline or attack science, it hurts the health and safety of countless families nationwide, especially for communities of color and low-income people who bear the burden of environmental and safety hazards.

We face a moment where we can turn the tide. This year’s high-stakes election offers a rare opportunity for scientists and science advocates to shine a light on the real-life consequences of dismantling science-based policies and suppressing equal participation in our democracy. The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the vital importance of science while creating new barriers for voters. We must demand that our elected officials protect science for its ability to serve all people. And we have to get people out to vote.

In the face of these unprecedented challenges, we need to come together, build new relationships and alliances, join or lead civic action in states and districts nationwide, and strengthen our advocacy muscles to take on challenges and opportunities for progress well into the future. And that’s why the Center for Science and Democracy (CSD) offers a variety of opportunities and resources to make the most of your time and energy.

There is a lot of hard work ahead in 2020—and after. Join us to be a part of this important moment. Let’s build a more powerful movement for science for the people—one that promotes and protects the role of science for policymaking and public service.

Opportunities to get involved

Here are three paths to join the national movement for science and democracy and make a local impact during this election season:

1. Get candidates and the media talking about why we need science for the common good—so your future elected officials commit to protecting science’s role in our democracy

Check out our sample questions to get candidates talking about the vital role of science, and let us know if you use them at an event, so we can follow-up with support.

Put your standing as a science-savvy constituent to work: demand that elected officials show a commitment and a plan for protecting science’s role in policymaking and public service. From townhalls and debates to local news and social media, we’ll offer you guidance and tools to get science on the map this election as a critical tool to tackle pressing problems for your state and community.

2. Vote—and get your colleagues, friends, and community to vote

Joining forces with Science Rising, a network of partners and advocates fighting for science, equity, and justice in our democracy, UCS is offering support for you to spark or join in “get out the vote” efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, with new online opportunities and resources. Learn about Science Rising’s work to increase voter registration and turnout among STEM student voters, and check out our revised “Science Rising Challenge” toolkit and application to fund up to $1000 for local projects.

Register to vote right now at Science Rising

3. Fix our broken electoral system—and put science to work to spotlight the dangers of weakening voting rights and representation

Scenes of people risking their lives to exercise their right to vote in Wisconsin shone a stark spotlight on the failings of our electoral system. It’s time for the scientific community to team up with voting rights advocates and flex the muscle of scientific research for real policy reform that protects voter access, turnout, and representation. If you care about science in policy, you’ll want to join in the effort to build a better democracy that represents the people and allows science to better serve the public and develop informed, equitable policy.

Get involved—Take the Pledge to Vote and Fight for Voting Rights and Environmental Justice: Raise your hand and share a little about yourself so we can tailor upcoming opportunities for you.

Trainings and resources

To support your involvement during this pivot election, we are offering a trio of online trainings to learn about some of the most pressing issues at the crossroads of science and this election—and get the tips and skills to be an effective voice for science.

  • January: Voting rights, environmental justice, and how science can be a partner for building a better democracy
    Learn from a mix of political scientists and leading democratic reform and environmental justice organizers about opportunities to improve voting access and representation going into the 2020 election. Explore the intersection of voting rights, environmental justice, and science-informed policymaking. Get tips, tools, and concrete ways to use your voice as a science advocate and constituent to make a difference in the election.
  • April: Being a science advocate with a commitment to equity
    A foundational training for scientists interested in learning how to integrate a lens of equity into their work
  • June: Take the Science Rising Challenge: How to take action to increase STEM student voter turnout (in partnership with SACNAS)
    Learn about the Science Rising Challenge and associated resources and how they can support your community or campus-based work to increase civic engagement actions like voting. We’ll share the research behind these tactics to help you understand how you can make a difference no matter how much time you have, your location, or your voting eligibility.



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