November is almost here and that means the 2018 midterm elections that you haven't stopped hearing about are about to take place. Registering to vote is the first important step in making your voice heard, and actually getting to the polls is the next most important step. While early voting has already started across the country, given that not all states give you the right to take off of work to vote, some have championed the idea of making Election Day a federal holiday. Most recently, Blue Point Brewing is making a push to bring the idea to fruition. They are doing so in the most appropriate way possible — by sending cans of Blue Point beer to Congress.
Blue Point Brewing isn't just sending an old lager or IPA to Washington D.C., the New York-based brewery is sending cans of its "Voters Day Off" IPA beer to the head honchos on Capitol Hill to promote making Election Day a national holiday. The front of the “Voters Day Off” can states the brewery’s mission: Make Election Day a national holiday. The backside of the can goes into greater detail and encourages drinkers to sign the back of the can and send it to the Senate Office Building in Washington D.C. The company will deliver all the signed cans to Congress on Oct. 24, according to Thrillist. If you want your Congressional representative to get your empties, you'll have to drop off your signed can at the Blue Point taproom in Patchogue, New York — but if you can't make it there, there's always the online petition.
The thought is that if Election Day is made a federal holiday so Americans can have the day off from work and other obligations, they will be more likely to vote in elections. The brewery pointed out in a Facebook post that a majority of eligible voters didn’t vote in the last midterm elections, with many non-voters citing school or work conflicts. So in the meantime Blue Point Brewing is taking matters into its own hands. In addition to sending cans of its "Voters Day Off" beer to congressional leaders, the brewery also announced it would give its own employees the day off to vote, and even took out an ad in The New York Times to better explain its position on the idea of making Election Day a national holiday.
"You would be surprised how many people cannot make it to the polls," Blue Point Brewing President Jenna Lally said in a video posted to the brewery's Facebook page. "We are giving everyone the day off and trying to motivate everyone else, and Congress, to make sure that this is a federal holiday."
According to Pew Research, the United States has one of the worst voter turnout records amongst other similar countries around the world. It's hard to believe, given that this year's midterm elections feels like they're touching on almost every aspect of everyday life. Even pop star Taylor Swift, who has stayed out of politics during her 10-plus year career, is encouraging fans to register and vote in the 2018 midterm elections. According to a study published on ResearchGate, researchers found that if Election Day was a national holiday, voter turnout would increase by roughly 16 percent. Currently, only 30 states require employers to give their workers time off of work, paid or no, in order to make it to the polls.
Politicians from President Donald Trump to former Vice President Joe Biden have called the 2018 midterm elections one of the most important elections people will vote in on their lifetimes. Don't let work, school, or other conflicts keep you away from the polls on Election Day. Many employers such as Lyft, Pinterest and Patagonia are giving employees paid time off to head to the polls on Nov. 6, according to Mic. If your employer isn't giving you the day off, talk to your boss to come to an agreement, and if worse comes to worse, check out your state's rules around early voting and absentee ballots.
Oh, and if you don't have the ways or means to get to the polls, ride-share services like Lyft and Uber are here to help you. On Nov. 6, Lyft will off half-off rides and Uber will offer free rides to your designated polling location.
Once you've voted, it's time to raise a glass and toast to your freedom — and the freedom to vote. Just make sure it's a can of Blue Point Brewing's "Voters Day Off" IPA to support the movement. Every vote counts, and you deserve to celebrate making your voice heard this election season.