A little over 60% of eligible voters turned out for the 2008 Presidential elections. As usual, the turnout is higher in a Presidential election year. Even with the highly partisan elections tomorrow, the turnout will probably not exceed 65%. How do we get more people to vote?
An answer may be to encourage more people to vote early by mail, or in non-traditional public places like malls. But, a rather disturbing story in the New York Times last week Voting Early, but Not So Often, analyzed voting patterns and concludes that in states that allow people to submit their ballots before Election Day, the number of voters is actually lower than in states that do not. If the trend continues, and more states allow early voting, well you can see where that’s headed.
Employee Motivation – Give Them a Day Off
I was talking to a friend about this and we wondered why – when the privilege of voting is essential to a healthy, functioning democracy – isn’t Election Day a legal holiday? How can giving people the day off on Columbus Day, for example, trump Election Day?
That’s not likely to change soon. But my friend had what I thought was a brilliant idea. Everyone who votes should be given a receipt, which an employee can turn into his employer in exchange for a day off of her choosing. What an incentive! Another day for holiday shopping. A Friday off for a long weekend.
I think companies would gladly agree while motivating employees to fulfill their civic duties.
What do you think? Have any other ideas about how we can get out the vote? Oh, and remember to vote tomorrow, if you haven’t already.