HOW U.S. COMPANIES ARE SUPPORTING CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
Civic engagement – and voting, in particular – is foundational to American democracy. Yet for too long it has been rather difficult for many to vote, particularly those with hourly jobs, caregiving responsibilities and other barriers. With the 2020 U.S. presidential election right around the corner – an election some believe will be the most consequential in modern history – many companies are stepping up to support civic engagement and encourage voting, among their employees and customers. Check out some examples below:
Paid Time Off on Election Day: Hundreds of companies are working to ensure their employees don’t have to choose between earning a paycheck and exercising their right to vote. Some businesses such as Coca-Cola, Twitter, Salesforce, and Blue Apron have made Election Day a paid company holiday. Others, like Farmers Insurance, Walmart and Visa, are offering hours of Paid Time Off (PTO) for employees to vote. For a more comprehensive list, see 700+ companies that have joined the Time To Vote initiative.
- Companies like Old Navy, Best Buy, and Target are taking it one step further by giving employees PTO to volunteer as poll workers on Election Day.
- Starbucks, in addition to offering time off, is providing information on voter registration and political issues to employees and customers.
Using their Platforms to Get Out the Vote: Beyond offering PTO to vote, some companies are using their platforms to encourage employees, customers, and fans to make their voices heard:
- If you’ve caught any of the NBA playoffs recently, you could not miss the players’ warm up shirts emblazoned with a simple message: “VOTE.” The NBA and WNBA are partnering with organizations such as When We All Vote, National Urban League, I Am a Voter, and more to support non-partisan voter registration. To make voting more accessible, the league is converting sports arenas and team facilities into locations for early and Election Day voting, poll worker training, ballot-drop off, non-partisan voter registration events, and other voting-related activities.
- Ride share companies Lyft and Uber are addressing transportation barriers to voting by offering all users discounted rides to polls and ballot drop box locations on Election Day.
- Lyft is also partnering with organizations like Black Women’s Roundtable, National Federation of the Blind, and others to provide free ride codes to historically underserved communities.
- Uber launched a “Get Out the Vote” campaign enabling users to register to vote or request a mail-in ballot through its apps.
- Retail brands Patagonia and Levi Strauss & Co.—founders of the Time To Vote initiative alongside PayPal—are using clothing to support their best-in-class civic engagement efforts.
- Never known for playing it safe, Patagonia has incorporated a cheeky call to vote in the tags of its Road to Regenerative shorts, in an effort to rally customers around its continued fight for climate action. Patagonia will also close its offices and stores on Election Day and offer employees up to 4 days PTO to train to become poll workers.
- Levi’s is engaging both employees and consumers in the 2020 election, offering employees up to 8 hours of PTO to vote and coordinating volunteer opportunities through Rock the Vote. Levi’s has also launched a #UseYourVoice campaign through Instagram live, a powerful voting PSA and a vote-themed docu-series. Additionally, it has given $2.6 million to organizations working to make voting more accessible and inspire young voters and voters in marginalized communities.
What’s Next? November 3rd is fast approaching. This is an important time in our nation’s history, and companies are using it to champion bipartisan civic engagement. They are, more than ever before, proving business goes beyond profits.
We’ll continue to monitor corporate efforts leading up to Election Day. If your company is championing civic engagement, please send us what you’re doing; we plan to share more examples in the coming weeks. And get out the vote!