Closed for Election Day

I cast my first vote for U.S. president in the 1980 election. I was eager to pull the lever that first time ­– mostly because the ability to vote was a right of passage into adulthood along with the ability to (legally) buy a bottle of beer in Kentucky. While disheartened that my candidate, Jimmy Carter, lost that election, the voting experience created in me a mixture of enthusiasm and obligation that has persisted through nine presidential elections.

As a full-time professional, I always found a way to cast my vote – sometimes heading to the polling site before dawn so that I could still run carpool and be at work on time, and in later years voting before the first Tuesday in November to avoid the lines completely. I was lucky to work for employers who encouraged and supported their employees to vote. Not everyone has the same advantage.

Now that I am an employer, I want to do more to encourage and support my team to vote and get involved in the election process. So this year, I am closing the office for the entire day to enable everyone the opportunity to do what they would like: vote, volunteer for candidates, drive others to the polls…or stay glued to their news and social media channels of choice to track results real-time.

I encourage other business owners and leaders to do the same: Step away from work demands for one single day and instead get involved in the national electoral process. Doing so could generate new perspectives on political action, legislation, citizen rights, voting laws and more. It will also provide a tangible way to support employees who share equally in the responsibilities of citizenship.