Election Day 2018 is November 6. In these last days leading up to the election, candidates are vying for your vote. You may receive phone calls, visits from volunteer door knockers, or even a direct appeal from the candidate. As you walk to your polling place for early voting or on Election Day, you may pass dozens of workers with signs, stickers, and hand-outs who seek a last-minute chance to influence your vote. A candidate may introduce him or herself and offer to shake your hand.
If they ask for a moment of your time—give it to them.
It doesn’t matter if you support that candidate or not. Take advantage of this opportunity to make a statement on behalf of your dogs, your sport, and your breeding program. Rather than hanging up the phone, shutting the door, or replying “no thanks” and walking by, use that moment to let them know their actions on canine issues are important to you as a voter.
Effective advocates begin their outreach efforts before a bill is on the table. They communicate with lawmakers about the great things AKC clubs do in their communities to support responsible dog ownership. They involve elected officials in local dog events and honor those legislators who are supportive of dog owners and responsible breeders. They demonstrate their knowledge and establish their credentials as the dog experts. They encourage legislators and their staff members to contact them—and other AKC clubs and federations—on canine legislation issues.
Raising awareness about the value breeders and dog owners bring to the community is an important part of success in ensuring that dog laws are fair and reasonable. Hosting and participating in responsible dog ownership programs and events that engage the public are great way to counter anti-breeder and anti-dog ownership propaganda. This can be a daunting task, because special interest groups, including some that represent extremist viewpoints, spend millions of dollars each year lobbying for increasingly restrictive laws that seek to severely limit our rights to own, exhibit, hunt with, and breed purpose-bred dogs.
MAKE SURE TO VOTE
Voter turn-out for “mid-term” elections is historically lower than in Presidential election years. But the importance and impact of the upcoming election should not be underestimated. The officials we elect this November—especially our local and state level policymakers—will have a tremendous influence on animal laws and regulations that impact our daily lives.
In addition to the thousands of local officials who will be elected to city, county and state offices, all 435 members of the US House of Representatives, 35 of the 100 US Senators, and 36 state governors will also be elected.
Over the next few weeks, you can help ensure the future of responsible dog ownership by spreading the word about the importance of voting for lawmakers who respect the rights of responsible dog owners, exhibitors, and breeders. AKC Government Relations provides a one-page printable flyer you can use when encouraging friends, family and colleagues to vote for dog- and breeder-friendly candidates. AKC clubs are urged to feature the flyer in print and online newsletters and distribute it at club meetings and events between now and Election Day.
Take a moment to review the AKC’s Election Guide. Share what you learn about candidates with your fellow dog owners and breeders so they, too, can make informed choices at the ballot box. Then get out and vote!
A single vote—your vote—could decide the outcome of an election, especially in local races. November 6 is your opportunity to make a difference.