The internet has been buzzing with pictures about Patagonia giving its employees Election Day 2018 off, so that they can get out and vote.
Truly, this is something that we can not take for granted.
A friend from college, now an attorney in Louisiana, shared the following stats on just how recently women and other minorities earned the right to vote. Looking at it in its entirety is rather eye-opening. This is recent, folks. Use it or lose it.
In 1776, you could only do it if you owned land.
By 1856, you no longer had to own land, but you could only do it if you were a white male.
By 1870, black men could also do it.
By 1920, women could do it.
By 1971, you only had to be 18 to do it.
*interesting note: In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson (separate but equal). On the heels of the court’s ruling, and the ensuing dominance of Jim Crow, Louisiana’s registered black vote dropped from 130,334 in 1896, to 5,320 in 1900, then, to 1,342 in 1904. The same held true all over the South.
As Patagonia pushed for corporate awareness, others followed. And Blue Point Brewer ran a full page ad in the New York Times. The Voters’ Day Off IPA mention in Sunday’s New York Times got people asking why it’s important to establish Election Day as a federal holiday. They’re in, are you? They decided to run with it, too, launching this petition to make Election Day a federal holiday.
As we began to make some noise, others did, too. We don’t have to wait for the government to take action on this. We can drive amazing change in the marketplace. We’ve done it with countless issues before. So we are at it here again.
My friends at Once Upon a Farm got in on it, and as I continued to highlight efforts, others chimed in. Laura Batcha at the Organic Trade Association said it has always been part of their protocol, their employee handbook has always offered time off on Election Day, and to count them in. My friends at MegaFood recognized that while they could not give employees the entire day off, they could give them an hour or two off to get out and vote.
What could be more reasonable than that?
“The right to vote is the most basic right, without which all others are meaningless.” ~ Lyndon B Johnson
Giving employees an extra hour at lunch on Election Day to go out and exercise their right to vote, to participate in this democracy that our ancestors, advocates, and military have fought so hard to protect.
It’s one hour. What’s democracy worth to you? One hour. Join the efforts, give your employees the day off, given them an extra hour off. Celebrate those who vote. Be part of history. Vote.
- Blue Point Brewer
- Once Upon A Farm
- Organic Trade Association
- Do Good
- AllergyKids Foundation
- Will you be next….?
- Sign the petition asking for Election Day to be a federal holiday here
- Can’t do that? Give your employees an hour off to vote. #OneHour4Democracy #VOTE