Science promises to play a prominent role in this year's political campaigns. Important decisions about science policy, however, are not made exclusively at the federal level. State legislators play a critical role in allocating funding for state and local education activities ranging from pre-kindergarten programs to graduate education at state universities. They may also help determine how or whether science is used to inform local environmental public policy, and to craft state-supported programs aimed at fostering scientific R&D. In some locations, opponents of evolution education have sought to elect officials who support their anti evolution policy agenda.
In light of the importance of politics to sound science policy, scientists who are US citizens should remember to vote on Tuesday, 7 November. If you plan to be out of town on 7 November, you may vote by absentee ballot. Before voting, however, spend a little time researching the candidates. Local newspapers often outline candidates' positions on local issues, or local community groups (e.g. citizens for science education) will convene public meetings with candidates. Or simply contact the candidate's campaign headquarters and ask for their candidate's position on a given issue. You can find out more about candidates in your area by going to http://www.lwv.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Candidate_Information_Voter_Guides.
If you have not yet registered to vote or if you have moved since the last election, you may obtain the information you need to register at http://www.govote.org. You should also be able to obtain the necessary information from your state's Secretary of State and/or your local county Board of Elections.
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