The midterm elections are on November 6th and early voting is open in states across the country. A 2018 Pew Research Center survey found that 70 percent of Americans agree that high voter turnout is very important in presidential elections, and 62 percent agreed it's very important in local elections.
But only a slight majority, just 55.7 percent, of Americans over the age of 18 voted in the 2016 election. Historically, even fewer Americans vote in midterm elections. In fact, Americans vote less than the citizens of almost every other wealthy country in the world. When Pew compared voter turnout in the U.S. with that of 32 peer countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, they found that the U.S. ranks 26th, just behind Estonia.
One reason for low-voter turnout is because Americans can't get away from work. According to a survey from Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), in 2018 44 percent of U.S. employers offer their workers paid time off to vote — and that's an all-time high. In 2017, 42 percent of employers offered paid time off to vote as a benefit.