YMCA Offers Free Childcare On Election Day

by Valerie Williams
Image via Shutterstock

YMCA locations to offer free childcare on Election Day to help parents get out and vote

In some parts of the country, voting isn’t easy, quick or convenient. In fact, we’re already hearing about early voters waiting in hours-long lines, so we know the situation this Tuesday could be a tough one. That’s why we’re thrilled that select YMCA locations will offer free childcare on Election Day to ease the burden for parents trying to cast their ballot without also losing their minds.

According to USA Today, some YMCA locations are stepping up to do all they can to ensure people have the time to vote. Waiting in a long line is awful no matter what, but waiting in a long line with your kids is pretty much a nightmare. Enter, free YMCA Election Day childcare.

YMCA of the USA President and CEO Kevin Washington said in a statement, “Election Day is arguably one of the most important days in the U.S. this year — the ultimate opportunity for Americans to make their voices heard through the democratic process. Unfortunately, many people who want to vote find it challenging because they have to take children with them. The Y’s hope is that Zoe’s Kids Day Out initiative enables those parents and caregivers to exercise their right to vote, and ensures children can spend their time in a safe, nurturing environment.”

Bravo, YMCA. This is truly fantastic. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be available at every YMCA location, so call your local branch before bringing your kids. Even so, this is a huge step in the right direction for making voting more accessible to all. But the biggest step? Make Election Day an actual holiday.

According to Occupy Democrats, that’s what former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders proposed in his bill to create a “Democracy Day,” a concept every American should get behind. The bill would make Election Day a national holiday, and codify into law the right for all Americans to have the day off so they can get out and vote.

Only 54% of eligible voters exercised their right in the 2012 election. There’s no way nearly half the country didn’t show up to polling stations simply because they didn’t care. There are very real obstacles to voting for some people including no ride to get there, lack of paid time off from their jobs, and yes, lack of childcare. With lines at some polling locations being hours long, it’s easy to see why parents without a safe place to leave their kids would opt out.

And that’s not something we should simply accept.

Until more is done by the government to make Election Day easier to participate in, we’re grateful for efforts from organizations like the YMCA to make voting as accessible as possible for all Americans.