Alamo Drafthouse Cinema was founded in 1997 as a single-screen mom and pop repertory theater in Austin, TX. Twenty-one years later, with 36 locations and counting across the United States. On November 6th, all of those 36 locations will be opening late. By canceling all early showings in all of their theaters, Alamo is sticking to one of their core priorities, civic participation. This helps ensure that every employee is allowed the time to vote in their respective midterm elections. Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO had this to say:
“My mom instilled in me at a young age the importance of voting in every election, and I try to pay that forward with the staff at Alamo. So, we’re closing our locations for the first round of shows and offering to pick up the tab on any staff member’s rideshare to a polling place.”
But this isn’t the first time that the company has lived up to this core principle. They’ve been involved in a national voter awareness PSA contest, created partnerships with civic leaders on non-partisan voter registration campaigns, distribution of “I’m So Gonna Vote” stickers at the box office and many of their employees have become registered registrars. The latter of which Alamo’s Creative Project Manager, Lauren Cooke explains, “As a Travis County voter registrar, myself and other Alamo employees signed up friends and co-workers, and volunteered for sign-up shifts in theater lobbies.”
From personal experience, work is quite often a barrier to voting, especially if you are working an hourly job. This isn’t just from a needing the pay for the time spent in line but also the lack of flexibility provided by employers to vote. By creating a time for their employees to vote, Alamo has capped off pre-election voter advocacy by providing it’s employees extra time to cast their ballots.
In Alamo’s home state of Texas, the early-voting participation has surpassed the early-voter turnout for the last midterm which was in 2014. To put it in perspective, in the first seven days of early voting 2.9 million Texas have voted already. This is 1.7 million more than those who had voted in the 2014 midterms and closing in fast on the 3.4 million who voted in 2012’s presidential election.
That being said, the momentum of people’s involvement in the civic process is at a new high and Alamo is doing whatever it can to keep it going.
Have you voted yet? You can find out where and how to cast your ballot at vote.org.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.