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Get marine conservation into the national political conversation with Americans Elect!

In response to the partisan gridlock in Washington DC, a group called Americans Elect hopes to “open up the political process”. This organization, founded by heavy hitters from both parties, is using the internet to allow anyone registered to vote in the United States, regardless of political affiliation, to nominate candidates for President of the United States. An online convention in June, which every registered Americans Elect user can participate in, will determine the nominee. who will be on official ballots in every state alongside Barack Obama and the Republican nominee (probably Romney but we’ll see).

Additionally, any registered Americans Elect user can propose a question. The top questions, as voted on by all other Americans Elect users, will have to be answered by any potential candidate. These top questions, and the Americans Elect candidates’ responses to them, will undoubtedly attract national media coverage. Presently, most of the top questions are about the economy and foreign policy. None focus on the oceans.

I have submitted a series of marine conservation questions, and I need your help to get them enough votes to earn them “top question” status and get marine conservation into the national political conversation! If you are registered to vote in the United States, please consider registering for Americans Elect and voting for these questions.

In order to register and vote for my questions, please follow the following steps:

Go to AmericansElect.org, and scroll down to the bottom. Click the “Sign Up Now” button under where it reads “Ready to become a Delegate?”, and fill out the registration information. Since they aim to have a secure online election, you’ll have to take a series of steps to verify your identity. Only people registered to vote in the United States can register for Americans Elect.

Once you’ve registered, the system asks you to define your priorities (economy, foreign policy, etc), and it will ask you a series of multiple-choice questions about your values. The system will also show you how your responses match up with the rest of the United States. This process is fascinating, and I encourage you to check it out.

Once you’ve logged in, please visit the questions I’ve submitted (direct links are provided next to each question, see below). To vote for each question, click on the + sign next to it, feel free to explain why you think it’s a good question (this isn’t required in order to vote), and be sure to scroll down and click “submit” for your vote to count.

The questions I’ve submitted are:

Research has shown that one side effect of climate change is a decrease in ocean pH (ocean acidification, which can affect important animals like plankton and corals. What is your stance on this issue and what policies would you implement to support it? (link to vote on this question)

Research suggests that current fish stocks are lower than needed to support fisheries at the current scale. What is your stance on fisheries management, and what policies would you implement to support it? How will this affect historic fishing communities? (link to vote on this question)

 What is your position regarding Federal subsidies to commercial fisheries? (link to vote on this question)

What is your position on large no-take (no fishing allowed) marine protected areas in United States waters? (link to vote on this question)

What is your position on offshore oil exploration in the United States’ exclusive economic zone? (link to vote on this question)

Four U.S. states passed laws last year banning the possession of shark fins, used to make shark fin soup, because of concerns about the sustainability and brutality of the fishery. What is you stance  on shark fishing in US waters? On a national fin ban? (link to vote on this question)

You can also submit your own questions about the topic of your choice by clicking on the “debates” button in the upper right. 

Joining Americans Elect and voting for these questions does not mean that you are required to participate in their online convention, it does not preclude you from voting in your own state’s primary, and it does not preclude you from voting for whoever you want in the general election. If we are successful at getting enough votes for these questions, however, we will get marine conservation into the national political conversation, which is a win for our oceans regardless of your politics. Please register for Americans Elect, please vote for these marine conservation questions to be included in the Americans Elect platform, and please share this with registered U.S. voters who care about the oceans!