Every Election Day, I close The Word Factory so we can participate. This didn't start as a conscious statement about making Election Day a holiday (it should be, and it should be paid). My reasons are because my parents were "political operatives" in our county and state when I was a kid. Mom was the Queen of grassroots politics and took my brother and me along when she went canvassing and door-knocking from the start. We'd hang out with Dad after school on Election Day -- going with him to vote and then visiting Mom on Election Day night when she was counting votes as an election official.
When I was still a one-person show, I took Election Day off to do voter education at the polls. This includes handing out sample ballots, answering questions about the process of voting or run-offs or special elections, etc., and having candidate information available. Usually I'm working for my party, but sometimes I work as a candidate representative, making last-minute pitches for the people I'd like to see in office or the ballot initiatives I'd like to see defeated or passed. I especially love talking to the kids who come with their folks about how democracy works and modeling volunteering and advocacy.
- Learn how to formulate an effective candidate endorsement
- Check out this strategy for advocating for a cause
And if you're wondering, I've never gotten pushback from clients about this closure. The only comments I've gotten have been positive and supportive. I still think Election Day should be a national and paid holiday, but we don't have to wait until that happens. If you're a business owner or decision-maker, why not investigate the impact of making Election Day a paid day off for all your employees, or as a floating PTO day for those electing (see what I did there?) to take it. If don't feel you have that kind of influence, perhaps go talk to HR about the option. Sometimes benefits aren't offered because nobody's aware employees value them.
Thanks for being a voter.