I waited a decade for the right to vote—don’t take it for granted!

I waited a decade for the right to vote—don’t take it for granted!

Key takeaways

  • Kavita is voting in her first election as a U.S. citizen.
  • She’s excited to earn her “I Voted” sticker, but also feels the weight of the responsibility.
  • Ellucian has joined the Time to Vote movement, giving employees time off to vote and volunteer.

This year, I join millions of Americans in exercising my right to vote. As we all celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment—which opened the door for women to have the right to vote in the United States—I also celebrate my own eligibility to vote.

The year 2020 is particularly a milestone for me, as I turned 40 and am voting for the first time in a general election. After a very long wait in the immigration queue (18 years, if you are wondering), it is now my chance to vote! I was born and raised in South India and came to this country to pursue higher education. Immigration wait times for Indian nationals are particularly long, hence my wait and tons of applications and paperwork.

But most of all, I looked forward to having a voice that deserves to be heard and the respect to have a vote that counts.

While I cannot wait for “I Voted” sticker that I have envied for years. I also feel the weight of this responsibility. I will go to the polls thinking about many others who are still patiently waiting for their chance. I will go to the polls knowing the feeling of political powerlessness. I will go to the polls with immense respect for the privilege that I now have the “Right to Vote.”

The Asian American population’s voter turnout has traditionally been very low, an issue that the Harmony employee resource group (ERG) has been having conversations about as we get closer to November 3. We feel the importance—and Ellucian has taken steps to back it up by joining the Time to Vote movement, a nonpartisan, business-led coalition with more than 1,000 employees dedicated to increasing voter participation.

Kavita and family traveling

As part of Time to Vote, our leadership team has encouraged all U.S.-based employees to take time to vote by providing four hours of paid Civic Duty Leave. Additionally, charitable leave has always been a great part of our culture, granting employees 40 hours of leave time a year to volunteer at any organization of our choosing. This year, employees have been encouraged to volunteer for election-related activities including working at polls, volunteering to drive voters in need, or engaging in other election-related volunteer activities.

I am proud to work for Ellucian, an organization that promotes and supports our right to be heard with these benefits. It’s an organization that understand the power in seeing the world in different ways and values diverse backgrounds and ideas. It’s an organization that supports its employee resource groups and allows us to build communities to promote growth and empower connections that bring together the cultural diversity of our heritages and values that bind all people together.

Kavita and family
About the Author
Kavita Juvvadi
Kavita Juvvadi
Senior Manager, HRIS & HR Operations

Kavita manages HR systems and operations at Ellucian and is based out of the Reston, VA office. She serves on the steering committee of the Asia PAC employee resource group (ERG Harmony) at Ellucian.