“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who don’t vote.” – George Jean Nathan
Did you know that in recent elections, only around 60% of those eligible to vote did so in presidential election years, and just 40% during midterm elections? Those numbers decrease further for primary and local elections.
This means that, at best, only 60% of eligible voters are contributing to decisions that affect our lives every single day – at the local, state, and national levels.
Recently, we’ve focused on the importance of speaking up about and taking action around the issues that we care about. While having discussions with those around us is a great way to learn and increase awareness, one of the most important ways to take action is by making sure that the people in decision-making seats align with your opinions and values.
Leading up to this year’s elections, one great way companies can have a positive impact is by encouraging their employees to vote. Here are some ways they can do it:
Talk about why voting is important
There are so many reasons why people don’t vote, one of which is that they don’t think that their votes count – but there are so many reasons why they do. With such low voter turnout, our democracy isn’t exactly representative of the whole country, which is problematic. And your vote counts much more so at the local level, since the outcomes of city, county, school board and other local government elections have an immediate bearing on our lives, affecting things like school policy, transportation, infrastructure, law enforcement, and taxes. Communicate these points to your employees, so they know how important it is for them to make the effort to vote.
Make voting easier
No matter what type of business you run, you can encourage your employees to vote by simply making it easier for them to do so. First, you can offer your employees time off to vote. One of the biggest reasons why Americans don’t vote is because they’re working during voting hours at their polling places. This doesn’t mean you have to shut down operations for the day – just ensure that employees have a sufficient break during voting hours to get to the polling place, cast their vote, and get back.
If you’re able, you could choose to take it a step further and help your employees get to their polling places too. Whether you subsidize their public transportation costs, allow for a work-from-home day, or even provide a shuttle, it will make a huge difference for those who might not otherwise be able to get where they need to.
When it comes to voting, knowing the details is half the battle. We’re not talking about providing information about candidates – though offering an unbiased fact sheet couldn’t hurt. We’re talking about information like the following:
- Deadlines for voter registration
- Voting dates for primary and general elections
- What those who will be away need to do to get absentee ballots and submit them on time
- Polling place locations
It is absolutely essential to note that we do not mean that employers should provide any sort of biased information about candidates, or encourage employees to vote in any particular way. It’s a fine line, and we understand that, but it is crucial that if employers are going to provide information about candidates, it has to be limited to the facts.
Find fun ways to encourage voting
Other fun ways that you can get your employees more involved in the election process is by creating an atmosphere that gets people excited for it. You could do this by offering small incentives to those who vote, like work from home days or office lunches. Or consider throwing an election night office party, where your team can get together and see the outcomes of their votes. Consider your office culture, and think through ways that you can bring people together around the election.
Do you have ideas for other ways employers can encourage voting? Share them with us, and we’ll help spread the word. Let’s make voting as easy as possible! Here’s how you can get in touch: