In the age of Trumpism, discussions of the once-stuffy midterm elections have moved beyond the realms of upper-crust bars and college quads, and into the kitchens, subway cars and sidewalks of the average American. With an estimated 113 million votes cast on Nov. 6 and some key race wins eked out by just a few percentage points, it is clear that democracy is alive and kicking in America.
What is curious about this election, however, is the unprecedented interest businesses had in voting. Most did not actively try to sway the vote by endorsing candidates, though some companies did do that. However, from Lyft offering reduced-fare rides to the polls to Facebook urging its users to get to their polling place, companies were invested in seeing consumers do their civic duty.
Patagonia Inc. and ModCloth modified store hours to allow employees time to vote. Companies like Tarte Cosmetics and Shake Shack offered incentives for people to get out and vote. Why are companies marketing voting better than the actual U.S. government? Whether it’s for good publicity or genuine company policy, the fact remains that these companies made it easier to vote on Election Day than the government did.
The U.S. government must make it easier for people to register to vote, get to their polling places and know exactly who is on the ballot. It’s the government’s job to do this — it’s not up to private companies.
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