“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public,” Cornel West, American philosopher and political activist.
This election is the most important one of my lifetime. Despite that, many of our fellow citizens will not vote. Some will avoid voting out of a lack of interest and engagement—they might not feel as if their voice matters and that their government will listen to them. Others won’t vote because they can not—their voice has been withheld, limited, or intimidated away.
Below is the percentage of US citizens voting in each Presidential election.
Now, for those of you data hounds in the audience, you’ll pick up on the fact that this is measured as a percent of the US population. While the chart above paints a somewhat positive long-term trend toward more people voting, the deeper story on voter participation is found in measuring voter turnout against the voting age population. This data has only been available in the last 100 years and is displayed in the chart below.
Unfortunately, US voter turnout remains basically flat. In the United States, we could do much more to ensure that everyone has a voice and that they utilize it.
In Washington State, where Apptentive is headquartered, we’re fortunate to live in a place that doesn’t require us to stand in line in order to vote and has embraced mail-in voting. As a result, our voting participation is higher than the national average, averaging over 60 percent in the last four presidential elections.
Is a system that results in about half of eligible voters actually voting successful?
Is this the best we can do?
Earlier this year, we at Apptentive outlined a “Days of Action” policy (inspired by Adam Kleinberg and the Traction team), which several of our teammates have utilized or plan to utilize specifically to increase the voter turnout percentages. In addition, we are giving all employees Election Day as paid time off so they can become civically engaged or go vote in-person at this time.
Personally, I’ve taken a few days so far to write postcards to voters in other states, particularly ones where early voting is possible. As I wrote the same message over and over again, trying to make sure my handwriting was legible, I had a lot of time to think about voting. I thought a lot about using our voices and the obligation I feel to light up more voices. I thought about what I want to be true in the world and why, Team Apptentive, we exist.
I realized that for a company that believes in giving every customer a voice, Election Day should be a rallying cry. Each Election Day is a measurement—a measurement of the government, the systems in place, and the population. In the US, we are tested at least every two years to measure how well we give our citizens a voice and how engaged they are. As a company, we can ensure that we’re always using our voices and that the value is explicit.
Making Election Day a holiday for our team is first and foremost about acknowledging and celebrating our team’s right to vote. We honor their voices as citizens and encourage them to use their voices.
- To be able to have a voice is an important first step.
- To use it is a crucial second step. It is our obligation to stay informed and use our voices.
- The final step is when we take action to ensure that others have the same access and ability to use their voice and feel as empowered as we do.
To use your voice to help others gain theirs, that’s my challenge to Team Apptentive and to our larger community.
Below I’ve shared a few resources on the kinds of things you can do to get involved in the election. Of course, they are just a few of many.
Information and ways to assist:
If you’re with me this far, I’m sure you see many ways in which Apptentive fits into this story. Our vision is a world in which every customer has a voice. Our focus and mission is to help the largest companies in the world give MORE of their customers a voice. We want to help them listen to more customers and to truly value each and every one of them.
As customers of our governments, we get to give feedback over the next few weeks. On or before November 3rd we can use our voices in the US election. We can use our voices to help others find and use theirs.
We at Apptentive make change every day because we lead with customer love and truly deliver it. Our customers give us love back because they feel it genuinely when they spend time with us. I like to think that each time we meet someone, they can walk away remembering us as the “Love Company” and feeling better for having met us.
We know that more people are ready to use their voices. We can raise the bar, millions of times every day. We can raise the bar for hundreds of millions of customers, just by checking in. The customer who is cared for is more likely to demand more from their other relationships, whether it’s with another business, a friend, or their government. Our mission is to ensure that more people have a voice and to raise the expectations of the world.
That starts with you all using your voice. Please vote.