Election Day has been on my mind a lot lately. Not only is this one certain to be quite consequential, but the logistics of voting are going to be particularly challenging. We are in the midst of a terrible global pandemic, lines at the polls are likely to be long, and anxiety for each and every voter assembling in public polling places will almost certainly be at an all-time high.
As the CEO of a New York City-based tech company with employees spread out all across the tristate area, and a number working remotely these days in states all across the county, I’m particularly concerned about how to make this Election Day as safe and stress-free as possible.
With that backdrop, I was super-excited to get a call from my good friend Sam Bloom, CEO of Camelot, the Dallas-based strategic marketing and advertising agency.
Sam told me that Camelot’s leadership team has decided to give all of their employees Election Day off -- and they hoped to help catalyze a movement across the industry for others to do the same.
He had me at his Texas-drawled “Hey there.”
I’m planning to talk to our team tomorrow in our weekly all-hands to see if they want us to do the same. It doesn’t matter what folks’ politics are. We want to maximize everyone’s chance to participate in our democracy and make a difference. I’m pretty hopeful that our team will want to follow suit.
Like Sam and the folks at Camelot, we know that a healthy democracy requires broad voter participation. We need to encourage more voting at every level of government, regardless of party or candidate preference. We also need to encourage folks to get actively involved in elections beyond just voting, whether as poll watchers, helping get voters to polls, or on phone banks. But they can’t do that and work a full day.
Of course, folks can’t vote in most states if they’re not already registered. As we know, voter participation has been dropping in the U.S. over the past decade or two. In 2008, over 61% of registered voters voted in the presidential election. In 2012, that number slipped to 58.6%. In 2016, it fell to 58.1%.
So we have two tasks. First, we need to get everyone registered to vote. Here is a resource to help on that front (Update: in some states, deadlines to register have already passed.) Second, let’s all “be like Camelot” and give our teams Election Day off so that they can exercise that right to vote and do their civic duty.
This may seem like a small thing, but it can make a big difference.
What do you think?