Section: News

Every Vote Counts aims to endorse time off work for voting

In their meeting on Sunday, the Kenyon College Student Council agreed to endorse the Time off To Vote (TOTV) letter presented by Kenyon’s chapter of Every Vote Counts.

Every Vote Counts (EVC) is a national, non-partisan organization dedicated to increasing voter turnout and expanding voter accessibility nationwide. While the organization boasts about 50 chapters at universities and colleges across the country, its Kenyon chapter was the first to be created in the Midwest. Kenyon’s chapter focuses less on student engagement in the electoral process, and more on informing its community on where, and how, they are able to vote. This focus stems from Gambier’s controversial voting history surrounding Presidential elections within the past two decades.

The letter, which was drafted by the national EVC chapter and personalized for each individual school, focuses on the social and corporate value of allowing for the labor force two hours of paid leave for voting.

“As the future labor force, having a time off to vote is something we value,” said Katelyn Schwartz ’21, the president of Kenyon’s EVC chapter. “And [the letter] basically explain[s] why we value that and how it’s beneficial for business [and] why giving employees time off to vote is actually a good business decision.”

The letter cites statistics on the positive aspects resulting from companies’ implementation of the TOTV policy, and predicts that, in only a few years, the future labor force “will consider TOTV like any other benefit (Healthcare, 401k contribution) when selecting employers.”

Asides from sponsoring the TOTV letter, EVC has transitioned into a more digital role in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and while looking ahead to the upcoming 2020 election.

“I think in my personal belief, that now that we’ve gone digital … the mission of EVC is more important than ever,” Schwartz said. “EVC focuses on civic engagement, fighting voter suppression and fighting voter apathy. And I think we’re going to see a lot of that in the upcoming election.”

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