Voter turnout has hit record lows across the U.S. Less than 60% of eligible voters participate during presidential election years, and only about 35% vote during midterm elections. U.S. turnout in the 2012 presidential election was 53.6%, based on 129.1 million votes cast and an estimated voting-age population of just under 241 million people. Looking at the most recent national elections in OECD countries, the highest turnout rates were in Belgium (87.2%), Turkey (84.3%) and Sweden (82.6%). (For more information, see Pew Research Voter Turnout Fact Tank.
) Turnout, not surprisingly, drops even lower for local elections - in some cases to the single digits. (For more information, see FairVote.org
At issue are fair representation - with voting disparities according to age, race, education, socioeconomic status - and the increasing impact on elections of special interest groups that have become especially successful at motivating their constituencies. With a presidential election on the horizon and to increase voter participation on issues of local importance, many chambers are lending their support or even leading efforts to increase voter turnout in their area.
- Chattanooga Chamber (TN) leadership alumni network spearheads a Get Out the Vote program.
- Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, and the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce support New York City's nonpartisan voter participation initiative, #Promotethevote. The campaign enlists employers to encourage their employees' participation in elections. (New York State law provides citizens with two hours to vote, and requires employers to notify employees about this right.)
- Eau Claire Area (WI) Chamber of Commerce presents Understanding Your November Ballot, an engaging session to get a fuller understanding of what's at stake in the November 8th election. It's a non-partisan review of what you'll find when you enter the voting booth, including state and federal offices and local referendum issues.
- Fort Worth Chamber (TX) has launched two recent voter engagement campaigns, enlisting its membership of 2,000 member businesses to encourage their employees to become informed on the issues facing the region, and to vote.
- Greenville Chamber (SC) has partnered with 12 other chambers in #VoteGreenville2016, an initiative to register and turn out voters in 2016.
- Rapid City (SD) Area Chamber of Commerce provides a variety of resources for the 2016 General Election on their Election Resources webpage.
- Richardson Chamber (TX) provides information about voting as well as election results and legislative alerts on its website.
- Tulsa Regional Chamber (OK) is using social media to get out the vote:
Have an example to share? Email to HERO@acce.org
- Employees Vote - The Business-Industry Political Action Committee's effort to help private sector employers and employees engage in the political process. Includes materials for Employee Voter Registration Week. The California Chamber and the Illinois Chamber are among its partners.
- Tips for Increasing Voter Turnout - League of Kansas Municipalities
- Voter Engagement Resource Library - Nonprofit VOTE
Related Chamberpedia Topics
| Government Relations and Public Policy
| Voter TurnoutLast updated: 3/23/2017