(Denver, Colorado) – With only a day until the 2020 U.S. presidential election, voters in Harris County, Texas are clamoring to the polls, many waiting hours in line to cast their vote. After watching what was happening on the news, Colorado business owner Jim Burness wanted to help.
“We weren’t sure how we could make a difference, but we knew we had to try,” Burness shared and after a few hours of brainstorming, he had an idea. “We knew lots of companies would be sending water and offering food, but I wanted to find another way to keep people in line. I was most concerned about seniors and those with health issues, so we packed up a bunch of camp chairs and shipped them to Texas.”
In fact, it was more than “a bunch”. Mr. Burness and his wife cleaned out their local Walmart and shipped a huge pallet of camp chairs to Texas. Unable to travel and distribute the chairs himself, he decided to reach out to the Rice University Young Democrats for help.
“We were blown away by the gesture and definitely wanted to find a way to make this happen,” Alissa Kono shared, a junior studying social policy analysis at Rice and President of the university’s Young Democrats. The group, who’s actively engaged in getting the vote out on campus, has also been phone banking and actively reaching out to the community to ensure everyone gets to the polls and is up to date on the issues. “This election is too important not to vote, but even beyond that voting is a huge responsibility and privilege, and everyone needs to get out there and exercise their voice.”
Nearly 1.4 million Houston area residents have already cast their ballots in early voting, exceeding the number that turned out for the 2016 election. This surge, without question, is a response to the presidential race, but also related to the challenges Harris County voters found in 2016. Even though they continue to see long lines, Harris County officials have done everything in their power to make voting more accessible by expanding voting hours and tripling the number of voting locations, the lines continue to be long. While local officials actively want to ensure their constituents are able to vote, the newly blue county leadership, also recognized the nation’s third largest county with record breaking turnout could play a pivotal role in the election – potentially, tipping Texas for Biden.
While Mr. Burness is an active Colorado Democrat, he’s equally a strong believer in exercising your right to vote – so much so, he is closing his offices on November 3rd. “I made the decision to make Election Day a staff holiday, not only because I wanted to give everyone the opportunity to vote, but also because so many wanted to get involved as poll watchers, dropping off ballots for the elderly or making phone calls,” he shared. “Do I want to see Biden victory? Absolutely, but regardless of party, no one should have to wait hours to cast their vote, especially with COVID numbers steadily increasing.”
While seniors and those with health challenges can vote by absentee ballot in Texas, those requests needed to be submitted by October 23rd, so those still wanting to cast their ballot need to do so in person, and with more than 13% (or 3.7M) of Texas’ population 65 and over, it’s likely that many seniors are or will be waiting in line. Texas has the third largest senior population in the U.S. after California and Florida.
“We’re fortunate in Colorado, because everyone receives a ballot in the mail. But in Texas that’s not the case,” Burness shared. “When I was contemplating how I could best support the election, I kept thinking of my dad. There is no way he could have ever stood in line for an hour let alone five. My hope is that this small gift will allow others like him to have their voice heard, no matter if they are voting red or blue.”
The Rice Young Democrats will be distributing the chairs on election day throughout the Harris County community.
Watch the video on the National Car Charging YouTube Channel.
ABOUT JIM BURNESS
James (Jim) Burness is the founder and CEO of Aloha Charge and National Car Charging (NCC) and is considered one of the nation’s leading Electric Vehicle and Charging Infrastructure experts. With previous careers in both the automotive and the renewable energy industries, Jim launched NCC to facilitate the build out of the nation’s EV charging infrastructure in a wide variety of key channels including hospitality, municipal facilities and multi-family dwellings. Based in Denver, Colorado, he is actively involved in Colorado’s local sustainability community and worked with the local utilities as well as with the state legislator as sustainability legislation continues to evolve. A graduate of The Colorado College and the University of Denver, he’s previously held positions at J.D. Power, American Honda and Microsoft’s CarPoint. Jim and his wife purchased their first electric car in 2012, and now, drive completely fossil free.
ABOUT THE RICE UNIVERSITY YOUNG DEMOCRATS
The Rice University Democrats (RUYD) is a student-run on-campus group of democrats, progressives, and politically engaged students at Rice University working to support candidates in favor of social justice, economic progress, and a sustainable future. They also serve as a branch of the Democratic Party’s infrastructure on campus by registering voters, raising awareness about upcoming elections, connecting students with quality internships at nonprofits and on campaigns, promoting progressive activism, and coordinating with local campaigns to “get out the vote” — all in an effort to increase turnout and create meaningful impact. Follow RUYD’s activities on Facebook and Twitter.
ABOUT NATIONAL CAR CHARGING (NCC)
NCC is the nation’s largest and most experienced EV charging reseller — saving their clients time and money by doing the heavy lifting in advance – from understanding the state incentives to vetting hardware and software providers to installation and maintenance. They offer the top EV charging products (EVBox, ChargePoint, Efacec, etc.) and services at reasonable prices paired with outstanding customer service. NCC currently manages over 5000+ EV ports across 43 states and 700+ customers. Learn more at nationalcarcharging.com or contact us directly at [email protected] or (866) 996-6387. And if you are in Hawaii, visit our sister company at alohacharge.com.