CECIL P. STATON
AAHOA PRESIDENT & CEO
Whether stepping into the voting booth or cracking the seal on a mail-in ballot, voters in the November elections will find more than the presidential tickets listed on the ballot. State-specific ballot measures, such as initiatives or referendums, and local elections are sure to populate the page alongside the more prominent federal elections. While the presidential election dominates public discourse and the 24-hour news cycle, the state and local elections should be held in equal regard. Invest time to research who and what is on your ballot, and then make a plan to cast your vote. When you vote informed, you vote correctly.
Knowing what is on the ballot is just one component to participating in the democratic process. After meeting the state’s residency and registration requirements, voters also must decide when and how to vote. This differs by state, but information on voting options is easily accessible online through state boards of elections, nonprofits, and political organizations. AAHOA also hosts a civic action center accessible via aahoa.com, where members can find the tools and resources they need to prepare to vote. Preparation in advance of the November 3 election date can help determine the timing and voting methods that suit your circumstances.
Voting is not a requirement, but it is an obligation borne by American citizens. As a cornerstone of our democratic system of governance, voting decides who represents the interests and enacts the will of the public. This process requires that we exercise our right to vote and do so informed on the candidates and issues that matter most to the future of our businesses, communities, and country. Voter turnout is shockingly low at a national level. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, roughly 56 percent of the U.S. voting-age population cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election. Turnout rates for local elections tend to be much lower, even when state and local elections coincide with federal elections. One vote can make a positive change.
The outcomes of the election will influence the direction our country takes for many years to come. Given the years-long recovery outlook for our industry, the officials we elect at the local, state, and federal levels will determine the relief and regulations our communities require to rebound from the devastation of the pandemic. We are at a crossroads in the recovery process, and the decisions we make at the polls are critical to the health of our economy and the strength of our democracy. Before you vote, gather the knowledge and use the resources at your disposal. Get informed, get engaged, and get your ballot in the box.