Election Day 2023 was a dress rehearsal for 2024—and it went remarkably well.

We didn’t win everywhere–outspent 35-1 by the fossil fuel industry, the remarkable advocates for a public utility in Maine came up short. Notably though — in the areas within the state where Third Act and the campaign invested resources and where our relational organizing and canvassing was most present, we fought the big money to a 50-50 draw, showing that when we connect and get our message out, ballot initiatives are a viable new strategy for holding utilities accountable.

Where the playing field was a tiny bit more level, you got it done! From Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia to Kentucky and New Jersey, the letters you wrote and the doors you knocked pay off with wins over the forces of election denial. People stood up for women’s rights, for climate action, for local representation and for a real democracy. But don’t take it from me; some Third Actors from across the nation sent us their experiences.

“Working as an election officer on Election Day was long hours (5 am–9 pm), but you really get an understanding just how safe our voting system is.” Lisa Finn

“I canvassed for local and regional candidates who support democracy and saving the planet (including our new State Delegate Amy Laufer, pictured on the right). Happy to report that everyone I worked for won! ” Donna Shaunesey

“I think our canvassing and help at the polls made a difference…the defeat of Dominion’s deadly, gas-powered Reliability Center is now within our reach.” Bill Muth

“I did work the Democratic tables at the polls this election day.  We had an impressive 43% turnout… much more than normal for a judicial and municipal election.” Tammis Dowling

“I am a poll worker and one big takeaway for me was the number of elderly voters who commented that there was too much at stake to stay home.” JoAnn Karsh

We know what the polls say about next year, and we also know that when we put in the effort we can win. But only if we put in the effort. So you’re allowed to bask a tiny bit this week–and then it’s back to writing letters, making calls, registering voters. Because it matters, and because no one can do it like we can. I’d say no rest for the weary, but in fact I feel energized. We’re ready to push on.

Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben is a founder of Third Act, which organizes people over the age of 60 to work on climate, democracy, and racial justice. He founded the first global grassroots climate campaign, 350.org, and serves as the Schumann Distinguished Professor in Residence at Middlebury College in Vermont. In 2014 he was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel,’ in the Swedish Parliament. He’s also won the Gandhi Peace Award, and honorary degrees from 19 colleges and universities. He has written over a dozen books about the environment, including his first, The End of Nature, published in 1989. His most recently released book is The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon: A Graying American Looks Back at his Suburban Boyhood and Wonders What the Hell Happened.