According to electionday.org, 800 companies are giving employees today off. And ARPR is proud to be on the list.
We’ve always given team members time to visit the polls on Tuesdays. But after some of our Atlanta employees waited hours upon hours to vote in this year’s July primary debacle, we decided to make Election Day a paid day off and we included the policy in our robust list of diversity and inclusion initiatives.
So this Nov. 3rd, members of our Army of Awesome are using their paid leave to serve as poll workers, phone bankers and more.
For me, participating in the political process has been in my DNA for as long as I can remember. From running in high school student government elections to organizing busloads of University of Alabama students to volunteer in races across state lines. From interning on Capitol Hill to eventually serving as a gubernatorial press secretary – a significant chunk of my life was spent mobilizing, communicating and fighting for ideals I believed in.
These experiences gave me crisis communications and messaging skills that have fueled my tech PR career. But they also gave me a deep appreciation for public service. I witnessed the guts it takes to run for office and the strain it puts on candidates’ families. I got to meet glass ceiling-breakers from different genders, races and political parties. And I heard countless stories of Americans whose lives literally depended on sound policy.
Having worked on races – from mayoral to presidential campaigns – I also saw first-hand how hard it was for a large percentage of citizens to even make it to the polls on Election Day.
Why? Fifty-nine percent of the American workforce is hourly. Many of these people – 13M to be exact – have more than one job. When you combine the obligation we all have to earn wages, with the demands of parenthood, etc. it’s no wonder only 58% of the U.S. voting-age population showed up to the polls in 2016. For comparison, Belgium was 87% in 2014 and South Korea was 77% in 2017 (more stats).
As Chris Rock recently said in a Saturday Night Live monologue, “The government does not want you to vote. Why do I know they don’t want you to vote? Because election day is a Tuesday in November. Does anybody get married on a Tuesday?! Church ain’t on a Tuesday?! […] You know, if this show was ‘Tuesday Night Live,’ it would have got canceled in 1975.”
Well, until ballot access, election security and voter suppression improve, it’s our job – as employers – to ensure our workers have ample opportunity to get to the polls, wait in lines, and cast their ballots.
If the federal government won’t make Election Day a national holiday, it’s incumbent upon business leaders to at least make it a paid day off. Please join ARPR and the hundreds of other brands on this list by giving your team Election Day off.