October 07, 2020
By Adam Heggenstaller
You’re registered to vote, right? If so, read on for ways to fulfill your civic duty while making the most of your hunting time. If not, go to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s #GUNVOTE website to take the important action of registering now. Many states still permit voter registration for the upcoming elections.
There are a few things besides registering to vote that hunters must do in the coming weeks to ensure their participation in the elections. They’re not difficult, and most are common-sense steps. Still, just like preparing for the opening day of deer or duck season, it’s wise to make sure you’re ready for Election Day.
1. Double-check your calendar.
November is a busy month—maybe the best one of the year—for hunting. Big-game, small-game, waterfowl and upland seasons are in full swing. And, oh yes, November marks the heat of the whitetail rut in most areas. As bucks go into the seeking and chasing phases, the first week of the month can be one of the best times of the year to spend entire days in the stand.
But make sure your hunting plans don’t interfere with exercising your right to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 3. If you intend to both hunt and vote in person that day, work out a schedule now that will ensure your arrival at your polling location well before it closes. Then, no matter how hot the action is in the woods, stick to your designated departure time. Voting is more important than hunting for another hour, as the future of hunting for years to come—especially with firearms—depends on your vote.
If you’ve scheduled a hunting trip that will take you out of your local area on Election Day, and being absent from your polling place is unavoidable, apply for an absentee ballot. Some states also offer early voting. See No. 3 below for information on how to pursue these options.
2. Confirm your polling location.
In order to vote in person, you must appear at your designated polling place. It may sound obvious, but make sure you know where that polling place is located. This is particularly important if you’ve recently moved and updated your voter registration. Many states issue voter registration cards or certificates with the holder’s polling location listed on them. You can also check your secretary of state’s website, or contact your state or local election office, to confirm your polling location and get updates on voting procedures. It’s a good idea to check with your election office in the weeks and days leading up to Nov. 3 for possible changes to voting procedures in response to COVID-19.
3. If necessary, apply for an absentee ballot or vote early.
You can still vote even if you can’t make it to your polling location on Election Day by submitting an absentee ballot or by voting prior to Nov. 3. Realize, however, that time is of the essence. Deadlines for requesting absentee ballots and for early in-person voting vary by state. The National Shooting Sports Foundation provides a convenient resource for learning each state’s procedures for absentee and early voting at #GUNVOTE. Hunters have several options for making their voices heard in the important upcoming elections. Take the necessary steps today to ensure your vote is counted.
#GUNVOTE 2020: Help Drive Voter Registration
NSSF is urging all industry businesses to download and display NSSF's #GUNVOTE® icon on their company websites and incorporate #GUNVOTE messages in their social media campaigns.
National Shooting Sports Foundation aims to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen's organizations and publishers nationwide.