I don’t think I need to convince you that elections matter. The plundering of environmental policy we’re now buffeted by on a national level every day boils down to one thing: Voting. As a number of special elections since 2016 have shown us all, there is lot of reactive energy out there. More people are running for office, working hard in elections, collecting signatures for ballot measures, and more. And there have been some unexpected wins.

The Idaho Conservation League, as a nonprofit organization, cannot engage in candidate elections. That means I cannot tell you who to vote for. I can tell you your vote matters.

Your vote matters in two ways: Casting a vote helps elect people who might share your vision of the future. That’s the nice flowery way to say it. Another way of saying the same thing is your vote can help keep people who don’t share your vision from gaining the power they seek. I have enthusiastically voted for both those reasons.

The other reason your vote matters is that I don’t believe you get to complain about government without having a stake in it. You get a stake in our government by voting. I spend a lot of time talking to people about policies and the direction of our country, our state, and our communities. It’s appalling how many times I’ve learned the person I’m talking to didn’t vote. "Oh, my vote doesn’t matter." Give me a break. That’s dumb on too many levels to even respond to.

Idaho’s primary election is May 15. Primaries typically have lower turnout than general elections in November. That means your vote counts even more.

Right now Idaho has an open governor’s race and an open congressional seat. That’s both rare and wildly important. I promise you, whoever wins those races will have a very big impact on things you care about and that ICL cares about.

In the Panhandle’s Bonner County we’re deep into an advisory vote on Scotchman Peaks wilderness. While ICL cannot engage candidate elections, we often go big on issue elections. Boise Foothills is a recent example. ICL’s Sandpoint office has been working for months to identify voters and get them to turn out in support of Scotchman Peaks.

Early voting has started. You can request an absentee ballot. Tuesday, May 15, you go to the polling place. Democracy is not a spectator sport. We’re living with the fact that elections matter every day. That means your vote matters.