Only 56 percent of the voting-age population participated in the last presidential election. America’s nonvoters in 2016 tended to be younger, less educated, less affluent and nonwhite—and one of the biggest reasons they gave for not voting was scheduling difficulties around work and other commitments.
Election Day is the most important day for our democracy; it should be honored and celebrated. And all of us—including America’s employers—should do what we can to make voting easier.
For this reason, Idea Grove is adding Election Day as a paid holiday for our employees, not only on Nov. 3, but every two years from now on.
Participating in our democracy is an opportunity we believe everyone at Idea Grove should take advantage of—and hold dear. We are encouraging and supporting every employee’s efforts to take part in the election process by becoming a paid poll worker, volunteering at the polls or in other ways—such as providing childcare, elder care or rides to the polls so that others in the community can vote.
In addition, because our goals align so closely with the organization’s mission, I have taken the CEO pledge at A Day for Democracy. This is a group created by CEOs that asks leaders to support their employees by giving them time off to participate in the election process, both through voting and volunteering. The final part of the pledge is to go public with your support for the effort, and that’s part of what I am doing here.
Even though Election Day is now a holiday at Idea Grove, we are urging our employees to beat the crowds by voting during the early voting period. That’s Oct. 13-Oct. 30 in Texas. Because high turnout and long lines are expected on Election Day, we encourage all Americans to vote prior to Nov. 3 if possible.
We are also reminding our team that Monday, Oct. 5, is the last day to register to vote in Texas. Similar deadlines are quickly approaching around the country. If you need to check the deadline in your state, the people at Vote.org have provided a helpful online resource. The site can also confirm whether or not you’re already registered.
It was once common in our country for more than 70 percent of eligible citizens to vote. Our democracy cannot long endure when nearly half of eligible voters do not participate in our elections. For the sake of our future and our children’s future, let’s do better in 2020.