Today, 150 leading companies are coming together in support of a vital common goal: getting more people out to vote. By joining the nonpartisan Time to Vote campaign, businesses from Walmart to Lyft as well as small businesses from coast to coast have made real commitments to help employees and customers exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens by voting in the upcoming midterm elections.
I believe this movement is crucial to the future of our democracy. Midterm elections suffer immensely from low voter turnout—just over 36 percent of eligible voters showed up for the 2014 midterms. Why? A Pew Research Center study found that many Americans don’t vote because it can be difficult to get time off from work on a busy Tuesday.
We also know that Russian propagandists worked hard on social media to influence our electorate, divide our country, and stoke divisions and hatred. In fact, they’re still at it. And we have all seen the impacts on our employees and their families; what were once good-natured spirited political debates have become hurtful divisions.
The momentum around Time to Vote gives me hope for a future where business can act as a force for good. Together, we can remove barriers to civic participation and encourage all American workers to be citizens and voters first.
Each company is joining Time to Vote in their own way. At Patagonia, we announced earlier this summer that we will close for business again on Election Day, November 6, so that every one of our U.S. based employees can vote (we first did this in 2016). Other companies joining this campaign are committed to increasing voter participation through programs such as paid time off, a day without meetings and resources for mail-in ballots and early voting. And all of them care about their workforce and supporting democracy.
If you’re a business leader and you haven’t joined Time to Vote, I hope you’ll consider joining us. Your commitment can be whatever works best for you and for your employees to create a work schedule that allows for voter participation. You can also connect with organizations like ElectionDay.org and Turbo.Vote that have more information.
However you approach it, demonstrating your company’s commitment to voting will reinforce how essential it is that every eligible voter shows up. And it will, in turn, help strengthen the idea that businesses can and will come together for a worthy common purpose: protecting our democracy by empowering all American workers to be good citizens.