Voters across the United States are casting ballots in what’s likely to be the most expensive election in the country’s history, projected by the Center for Responsive Politics to cost US$10.8 billion. But despite record-breaking spending by the campaigns and the possibility of a once-in-a-century surge in turnout, voter participation in the U.S. is comparatively underwhelming. Only 55.7 percent of eligible voters participated in the last presidential election, below recent voter turnouts in other countries (for example, 66 percent in Mexico, 76 percent in Israel, and 87 percent in Belgium). That means about 100 million U.S. citizens did not exercise their fundamental right to vote four years ago.
Political parties and civic action groups are working hard to increase voter turnout this time around. But they’re not the only ones. Joining forces with them to help get out the vote is a new entity: corporate America.