Voting Makes Democracy Work | Opinion

What is truly American? From apple pie to hip-hop to a good pair of blue jeans, so many things come to mind. But nothing is more foundational to the idea and promise of America than voting.

That's why this Tuesday, Sept. 28, we're celebrating National Voter Registration Day (NVRD)—a single day of coordinated action between thousands of nonprofits, colleges, businesses and others registering Americans to vote. First observed in 2012, the holiday has quickly gained momentum, and nearly 4.5 million voters to date have registered as part of the holiday. We want you to be ready for state and local elections in 2021, the 2022 midterms and beyond. So we're encouraging you to register to vote today.

A recent poll from Global Strategy Group and Civic Responsibility Project found that 94 percent of voters across the political spectrum agree that making sure all eligible Americans can vote is not a partisan issue, but it is an American issue. But every year, millions of Americans find themselves unable to vote because they miss a registration deadline, don't update their registration or aren't sure how to register. And this year, with states enacting more than 28 new voting laws across the country, it's more important than ever for Americans to get clear information on how they can get registered and cast their ballots in their state and local elections.

Voting is power; it's the best way you can individually shape and improve your life and the lives of those around you. It's why so many millions of Americans have marched, fought and died for the right to vote. And while presidential elections get the most attention, local government most directly affects your day-to-day life. The water you drink, the schools you attend and the roads you drive on are all affected by decisions made by local elected officials. What's more, many landmark federal policies first originated at the local level. Policies such as women's suffrage, minimum wage, environmental protection and marriage equality all began at the local and state level. Still, data shows that only one in five voters turnout for local elections. And despite last year's historic voter turnout, Census data shows that millions of eligible voters—particularly younger voters—were not registered and ready to vote.

A poll worker cleans a voting booth
A poll worker cleans a voting booth. J. Countess/Getty Images

American businesses have both a role to play and a duty to work until every American can participate in our democracy—not just every two or four years, but in every election, every year. #NationalVoterRegistrationDay and companies like Levi Strauss & Co. are committed to getting as many people registered and ready to vote, especially those who are most often left out of the electoral process. On Sept. 28, we'll be registering eligible voters thanks to thousands of nonprofits, libraries, universities, businesses and local election offices across the country.

Democracy can only thrive if every eligible voter can participate. And that starts with signing every eligible voter up. Help us. Be informed. Be registered. Be the voice that becomes a vote. Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, this National Voter Registration Day, we invite you to seize your power.

Marc Rosen is executive vice president and president of Levi Strauss U.S. and Canada.

Brian Miller is executive director of National Voter Registration Day and Nonprofit VOTE.

The views expressed in this article are the writers' own.