As a marketing localization agency, we’re all about connection, engagement, and driving results for our clients internationally. To make that happen, we pay attention to what’s happening globally and think bigger-picture. Part of our commitment to outward thinking is considering how we can improve and take action on issues we’re passionate about. One of the key issues we champion is the importance of voting.
As Election Day approaches this year amid a global pandemic, voting access and safety is a concern for many. Given the wide-scale concerns about United States Postal Service policy changes, false claims that mail-in ballots lead to broad-scale voter fraud, and ongoing voter suppression efforts, voter apathy is a real concern. There are many reasons why voting is important, but here are our top three:
REASONS WHY VOTING IS IMPORTANT
1. Voting is a democratic right generations have fought for, and we take that seriously.
In August 2020, we celebrated two voting rights anniversaries. The 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote (although black women’s right to vote was still denied them). And the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibited racial discrimination in voting. Both of these involved decades of activists fighting and dying for their right to vote. They knew voting is the most basic privilege in a democratic society, and they wanted their voices – and the voices of others – to be heard.
Wordbankers also have reasons closer to home to make sure we vote. Almost 20% of our colleagues are permanent residents from other countries and don’t have voting rights in the US. As a company, we rally behind our staff that do have that right. To ensure they understand the value and importance of voting, to help them register if they need it, and to give them time off to exercise their right.
2. Representation has a big impact in all areas of life and drives change.
Elections aren’t just about who’s in office. They’re about which policies are put in place and where money is spent. Decisions are made every day around issues such as healthcare, education, fair wages, the environment, taxes, housing, and public safety. When people choose not to vote, they’re giving their voice and power to someone else.
Local elections in particular have the power to impact everyday life. Wordbankers are passionate about voting as a way to drive change, at local and national levels. Many of our people have gone beyond just voting and regularly attend city council meetings or volunteer with voting movements and campaigns. Through these activities, one Wordbanker was surprised to learn all the areas that a city council controls, such as how zoning decisions affect affordable housing access. Her experience has been eye-opening in seeing how participation isn’t only about being informed, but about holding leaders accountable through voting and continued engagement.
3. Every vote counts, especially when elections are close.
Over the past 20 years, there have been several US elections decided by very small margins. In 2018, the Democratic primary for Baltimore County executive was decided by just 17 votes. In 2016, a Vermont state House seat was determined by one vote out of 2,000. And a New Mexico state House seat was decided by two votes out of almost 14,000. We aim for 100% Wordbanker voter turnout in every election because every single person’s voice matters.
HOW CAN WE MAKE VOTING MORE INCLUSIVE?
We know from our own experience that ease of voting access affects voter turnout. Companies play a major role in the lives of their people, and we take that role seriously. As a certified B Corp, we already encourage our people to drive positive change in our communities and to be engaged in the wider world through volunteering, environmental awareness/action, and by keeping up with world events. But we also want our people to fully engage in our local and global communities. And involved citizenship is about supporting our democracy through the voting process. We believe people shouldn’t have to choose between a paycheck and voting. That’s why we provide voting information to Wordbankers and paid time off for voting.
This year, finding ways to increase voter access and turnout is more important than ever. Voter suppression efforts and health concerns are big obstacles, but are not insurmountable. Our country needs to make voting more accessible for everyone, through national mail-in ballot systems, automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, safe in-person options, and by making Election Day a national holiday.
We’re proud that Colorado is a leader in implementing mail-in ballot systems and makes voting easy. All voters automatically receive a mail-in ballot, we have early voting options, and there are 24-hour lock boxes to submit ballots as well. We’d like to see that system, which has been successful since 2013, implemented nationwide so all people – regardless of background, location, and political beliefs – have that access. In a modern democracy, with the strength and sophistication of the US, all people should have easy access to vote.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
- Educate yourself on issues in your community. Pay attention to local elections and what your city and state governments are doing.
- Encourage your company to join the Make Time to Vote movement and provide paid time off for voting.
- Join us in advocating to make Election Day a national holiday.
- Help ensure voting access this year by contacting your state representative to make voting by mail and voter registration easier.
- Volunteer for National Voter Registration Day (September 22).
- Sign up to be a poll worker. There is a nation-wide shortage of poll workers this year due to COVID-19. Consider signing up if you’re in good health and willing/able to work.
- Do your research about voting in your area and make a plan to vote. Then do it. And ask your family and friends to do it, too.
We believe that most people genuinely care about the world around them and want to make a difference. We believe every company has a responsibility to support their people in exercising their basic democratic right. All of us have issues that affect us, whether it’s racial justice, the environment, education, healthcare, reproductive rights, or earning a living wage. With all the challenges in today’s world, it may be tempting to ask, “Why even bother with voting?” But that’s exactly what those focused on voter suppression hope for. That’s literally where democracy dies. One voter at a time…
We believe the true question for voters should be, “What do you care enough about to get out and be counted?” “What good could possibly come of not exercising your right to vote?” We all have a part in shaping the world we live in, and our voices matter. Vote. For yourself, for your family, for your community, for your country.