Editor’s Note: The following excerpt comes from an op-ed originally published in Newsweek by Marc Rosen, Executive Vice President and President, Levi Strauss U.S. and Canada, and Brian Miller, Executive Director of National Voter Registration Day and Nonprofit VOTE. Today is National Voter Registration Day, and in an off-year election, Marc and Brian stress the importance of engaging in every local, state and federal election, and why U.S. businesses should encourage their employees and communities to register and vote.
Voting is power; it’s the best way you can individually shape and improve your life and the lives of those around you. It’s why so many millions of Americans have marched, fought and died for the right to vote. And while presidential elections get the most attention, local government most directly affects your day-to-day life. The water you drink, the schools you attend and the roads you drive on are all affected by decisions made by local elected officials. What’s more, many landmark federal policies first originated at the local level. Policies such as women’s suffrage, minimum wage, environmental protection and marriage equality all began at the local and state level. Still, data shows that only one in five voters turn out for local elections. And despite last year’s historic voter turnout, Census data shows that millions of eligible voters — particularly younger voters — were not registered and ready to vote.
American businesses have both a role to play and a duty to work until every American can participate in our democracy — not just every two or four years, but in every election, every year. #NationalVoterRegistrationDay and companies like Levi Strauss & Co. are committed to getting as many people registered and ready to vote, especially those who are most often left out of the electoral process. On September 28, we’ll be registering eligible voters thanks to thousands of nonprofits, libraries, universities, businesses and local election offices across the country.
Democracy can only thrive if every eligible voter can participate. And that starts with signing every eligible voter up. Help us. Be informed. Be registered. Be the voice that becomes a vote. Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, this National Voter Registration Day, we invite you to seize your power.
Read the full op-ed in Newsweek, online now.