Election 2020

With the 2020 elections quickly approaching, everyone needs to be ready to participate. We are all better off with a healthy democracy, and businesses play an essential role in promoting civic engagement in their employees, customers and communities.

In 2014, 35% of nonvoters cited conflicts with work or school as the main reason for their lack of participation in the election. Fortunately, making voting as convenient as possible for your employees does not need to be difficult. Employers can directly increase voter participation by setting voter-friendly policies and doing their part to remind their employees of upcoming elections and options.

It is important to remember that the right to vote is a civil right, and in many states, employers are required to provide employees with time to vote. (You can check your state’s specific laws here.) For those here in California, employers are required to post a “time off to vote” notice informing employees of their right to paid time off to vote, if they cannot otherwise vote during non-work hours.

Other than these official requirements by state law, why should employers encourage their employees to vote? Take it from Wharton, or Inc.com: employees who vote also feel more empowered in their workplaces, become better informed about the world and develop more empathy for their communities.

Businesses are already recognizing that they have a moral obligation to encourage civic engagement. Time to Vote is a growing, national coalition of companies such as Walmart, Patagonia and Tyson, committed to implementing programs that increase voter participation.

The time to get involved in nonpartisan efforts to strengthen our democracy is now, regardless of how large your company is. To get started, we have outlined some “good ideas for the taking” below:

Minimal Effort

  • Send out a company-wide email with information about voter registration, absentee ballots, early voting periods, polling places and election dates. Make sure all communications go out in the languages spoken by your employees and community.
  • Offer paid time off and/or subsidize transportation for employees to go vote.
  • Post on social media to remind customers and other stakeholders to vote.

Some Effort

  • Institute a partial- or full-day company holiday to allow employees to vote. (Look to Electionday.org for ideas.)
  • Institute annual civic time off (like paid time off to volunteer) that employees can use to volunteer in civic activities, like as election poll workers.
  • Hold a company-wide event on the importance of voting.
  • Host an election night viewing party, or another incentive that’s tied to the company culture.
  • Participate in the Turbo Vote Challenge

Significant Effort

  • Utilize your company’s expertise to build a specific strategy (without violating any laws!) Check out The Good Brief to get started.
  • Contribute to a nonprofit, nonpartisan voting rights organization.

Here’s a list to get started: