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The Value of a Vote Not Cast

In Canada and the US, voter turnout rates are atrocious. The conference board of Canada recently gave Canada a grade of “C” when comparing voter turnout rates of seventeen peer countries (ranking fourteenth out of seventeen, the US was even worse at dead last—seventeenth!).

The reasons for not voting most commonly cited by non-voters include: family obligations, being too busy, or being on vacation.

So why don’t we just get rid of voting all together?

Of course this is a ridiculous line of reasoning! The fact of the matter is non-voters still benefit from living in a democratic society.

Modernization theory has long argued a strong correlation between economic development and the presence of democracy. More specifically, economic development is further broken down into four components: industrialization, urbanization, wealth, and education.

Now, while none of these components can be considered causal, another way to look at modernization theory is to say that societies that allow citizens to voice their ideas and vote on things important to them have higher levels of economic development. In other words, even if you don’t actually go to the polls and exercise your right to vote (which you should!), you still benefit from all of the other benefits of living in a democratic society.

There is a huge difference between living in a society where you don’t vote, and one where you can’t vote. It feels different.

The same argument can be made for companies.

Organizations that encourage employees to share their ideas on how to improve the business feel different. The culture is different. It attracts the type of like-minded people that appreciate the right to vote, even if they may choose not to from time-to-time.

People want to have a voice, and those that use their voice—and feel it is heard—become more attached to their membership.

As we’ve seen above, even the ones that don’t use that voice will benefit from being part of a more progressive environment.

So if, as organizations, we can continually develop ways to include and engage employees by letting them have their voices heard—the right to vote—chances are, that progressive environment will become a more prosperous one.

Harness the power of employee ideas.

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