05 Nov Vote! America’s Greatest Civics Lesson
For weeks we’ve all seen the signs, stickers, and landing pages telling us to “VOTE!” Well, it looks like America got the message – as of Wednesday night, while vote counting continued in many states, NBC News had already projected that “at least 159.8 million Americans voted in the 2020 presidential election.” The significance: it set a record for the highest number of ballots cast in a presidential election and the highest voter turnout rate among eligible citizens since 1900. With around 239.2 million Americans eligible to vote in 2020, according to the U.S. Elections Project, if 158.8 million ballots were cast, that would equate to about a 66.8% voter turnout among eligible citizens. Again, the highest number in 120 years.
In terms of how Americans voted: it’s estimated that 100 million of us voted early; the balance turned out to vote. In fact compared to the 2016 election, in 2020, in Texas, for example, 108% of those who voted in 2016 enthusiastically cast their ballots this year.
Unquestionably this has been a controversial election/reelection cycle in the making for years. But one thing is clear, more youngsters and seniors have been brought to the rallies – or enabled to vote than in prior years. For example, a Christian Science Monitor article entitled, “In 2020, parents weigh how to talk politics”, pointed out how “activist children” were vocally participating in marches against gun control, climate change, and “closing the camps.” And, even before taking to the streets to march, youngsters like six year-old Olivia Cooper became an engrossed listener (and face billboard) for candidate Joe Biden, when he spoke in Carroll, Iowa last December.
On the other end of the age spectrum, ABL Member Debbie Toth and her Choice in Aging team, worked with the Contra Costa County Supervisors and Contra Costa County Elections to ensure that adults living in congregate facilities (like SNFs) throughout the County would be enabled to vote, by setting up mobile voting units across the county to ensure elders had their right to vote met.
With lawsuits already filed demanding recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, and Georgia, and protesters gathering in Detroit, Chicago, Portland, Seattle, Phoenix, and New York, this election appears to be far from “over.” But the civics lessons learned (and even the math lessons on how to count to 270) hopefully will strengthen our collective appreciation of the Constitution, and our hard-earned right to vote.
By Mimi Grant, President, Adaptive Business Leaders (ABL) Organization – Round Tables and Events for CEOs of Healthcare and Technology Companies