A popular nationwide theater chain will keep its doors shut for much of Election Day in an effort to boost voter turnout.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema locations in 27 cities from coast to coast will not open until mid-afternoon on Nov. 6 to encourage its customers and employees to vote in the midterms instead of watching movies, EW has exclusively learned.
“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,” says Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO. “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.”
The cinema chain has been encouraging its patrons to vote in the months leading up to the election too. Alamo also had a national voter awareness PSA contest, partnerships with civic leaders on non-partisan voter registration campaigns, distribution of “I’m So Gonna Vote” stickers at the box office, put their famous “no talking, no texting” policy up for a “vote,” and even encouraged employees to become registrars to staff voter sign-up tables in the theaters’ lobbies. All 36 Alamo locations will participate in the Election Day hours plan.
While the company has grown rapidly in recent years — adding theaters in New York, San Francisco and, soon, Los Angeles — the chain is based in Texas, which is in the middle of a particularly intense Senate race between incumbent Ted Cruz and challenger Beto O’Rourke, with the state having seen record turnout in early voting.