Exercising your right to vote is so important, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy, or even possible, for everyone.
Earlier this year, we shared different ways that businesses can encourage and help their employees to vote. These include educating employees about why voting is important, making it easier by giving them time off or offering transportation, and providing crucial information about candidates. With voter turnout on the decline in recent years, decreasing from 62.3% of eligible citizens in 2008 to 57.5% in 2012, it is critical that we support efforts to inform and encouraging voting. Companies can make a huge difference in getting informed citizens to the polls.
Since then, we’ve seen a number of companies step up to make that happen. In the final days leading up to the election, we’re especially grateful for their forethought and effort. Here are a few:
In April, Virgin America was announced as the Official Airline of Rock the Vote for the 2016 election season. What does that mean? In each of their flights, they feature a video created by Rock the Vote that shows passengers how to register easily and immediately via free in-flight WiFi. The video targets Millennials, as only 46% of them showed up to the polls for the last presidential election, and focuses on how voting gives them a chance to make a difference when it comes to the issues that they value, such as equality and gun control.
USA Today sparked conversation around voting this election season with their #votingbecause campaign. The campaign encouraged people to share their reason on social media by taking a photo of themselves with a sign that says #votingbecause ________. In doing so, participants join a national conversation around the importance of voting, as well as get a chance to be featured in USA Today. The campaign page also includes helpful resources like instructions on registering to vote, informative blogs and podcasts, and interactive learning experiences.
This isn’t the first time we’ve been impressed by Patagonia’s unique efforts to make a positive impact, and we’re pretty sure it won’t be the last. This election season, Patagonia launched a Vote Our Planet campaign centered around green voting, or voting for candidates that are actively working to support environmental initiatives. Like USA Today, their campaign page includes helpful resources, but with a particular focus on green issues. The campaign also invites people to share their #VoteOurPlanet stories and photos on social media, which Patagonia then shares on their website. Additionally, the company opted to take the conversation offline by organizing a series of free events across the country for voters to attend and learn.
When employers don't give time off from work on Election Day, it becomes a major roadblock for voters. Many countries – like France, Germany, Brazil and Japan, to name a few – don’t schedule election days during the workweek. In the U.S., however, voting in the presidential election takes place on a Tuesday, a day when many Americans aren’t able to leave their jobs. This year, Noah Fradin launched the Take Tuesday campaign, arguing that election day should be a paid holiday for eligible voters, or that companies should at least offer a block of time during which employees can go to the polls. As a result of the campaign, companies like Thrillist and Salon have signed a pledge to offer paid time off for voters.
Do you know of any other companies who are doing their part to educate and encourage voter turnout? Tell us about them! Let’s make sure they get the recognition they deserve. Here’s how: