The Polls Are Open
Election Day is less than three weeks away and the most important message I have for you is to vote.
I wrote about the importance of voting a year ago. “Despite being 365 days away from the next presidential election,” I implored, “it’s not a minute too soon to be talking about raising our expectations of our national leaders, our country, and ourselves. We can do that in one simple way: by donating a morning for America.”
What I meant by that was giving our employees the time to do their most fundamental civic duty. As leaders, that is our responsibility. While many people have or are planning to vote by mail or vote early, many more are waiting to go to the polls in person on November 3. Just because most people are still working from home doesn’t mean they wouldn’t benefit from a delayed opening or an early closing so they’re not stressed about work.
Voting is hard enough. Let’s do what’s in our power as leaders to make it as easy as possible for people to cast their ballots and to show we care.
Prior to the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, just 50% of voters thought that it really mattered who won, versus 44% who thought that things would be pretty much the same, regardless of who won. This year, a record 83%—including 85% of Democrats and 86% of Republicans—say that it really matters, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.
Similarly, recent Brookings Institute research indicates that rising voter interest has yielded increased engagement: this year, 78% of Democrats and 77% of Republicans say that they have thought “quite a lot” about the election, compared to just 44% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans in 2000.
With expected record turnout in 2020 of more than 145 million voters, these collective data points are encouraging.
While I’m not a big sports guy or social media fan, I have also taken note that athletes, artists, sports leagues, and other organizations with social influence and public platforms have made it their mission to not only educate and energize voters this year but to present them with endless opportunities to register to vote. The message has been simple, and hopefully, effective: when you are at the polls, you are in the best position possible to create change.
We are in a critical time, each day headlined by an increasingly toxic and frankly, dysfunctional, political environment. Naturally, all eyes are on the presidential race but there are competitive House, Senate, and gubernatorial seats up for grabs across the country. The entirety of the ballot is important. And whether you agree or disagree with what’s going on, the best thing we can all do is vote.
A fundamental change is required and as leaders, we can play an important role in this process. Let’s make our voices heard.