Outdoor retailer Patagonia will close all its stores on Election Day so that its employees can vote. Ride-hailing companies Lyft and Uber will offer free and discounted rides to polling places on Nov. 6. Meat company Tyson Foods has launched its first campaign to get employees registered to vote. Cava restaurants will give its workers two hours of paid time off to vote, and online marketplace WeddingWire has made Election Day a “no meetings” day to make it easier for employees to vote. Social media companies such as Snap and Instagram have used their sites to encourage young adults to register and vote.
Good that these companies are trying to boost voter turnout for next week’s critical midterm elections. We hope they succeed. But their efforts, no matter how laudatory, beg the question of why the United States — which consistently has voter turnout far below that of most other developed countries — puts up so many unnecessary barriers to voting. One such barrier is holding elections on a workday squeezed into the middle of a week. Nearly every other modern democracy holds elections on weekends or makes Election Day a national holiday.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE WASHINGTON POST