Given the increased complexity of voting in the midst of a pandemic, the importance of giving people the time they need to get to the polls is as important as ever.
Our President and CEO, Chip Bergh, penned an op-ed for CNN today calling on businesses to do their part to drive voter turnout.
It’s a cue Chip has taken from Levi Strauss himself, who closed his business – along with more than 350 other California businesses – on Election Day back in 1864 so that his employees had time to cast their ballots.
It’s not about who you vote for or how you cast your ballot – it’s about making sure your voice is heard and your vote is counted. As Chip wrote:
We have so much at stake in this year’s election at the local, state and national levels. From building a stronger and more inclusive economy to tackling systemic racism and police brutality, combating climate change and reducing gun violence, the nation has so much work to do to get on the right track. And yet, the obstacles to voting in this year’s election are far greater than anyone could have imagined just months ago. On top of the challenges that are more familiar, like voter ID laws that disproportionately impede people of color from voting, Americans now face different challenges, including the risk of infection at crowded polling places.
Even in the best of times, voter turnout in the United States is one of the lowest in the developed world, and it doesn’t help that many Americans struggle every election season to get time off work to vote.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten the accessibility and safety of our elections. But voters should not be forced to choose between their own health and exercising their right to vote. That’s why we are building on the momentum of Time to Vote, an initiative we co-launched with other companies in 2018, to ensure employees have the time they need to vote in whatever way is best for them. And the movement is growing, with prominent businesses like the Coca-Cola Company, Nike, Deloitte, Twitter and VISA recently joining more than 600 participating companies that have pledged to make time for their employees to cast ballots. These businesses represent more than 150 industries with employees working across all 50 U.S. states.
Time to Vote is aiming to get 1,000 companies signed up by Election Day. We encourage other companies to join us by visiting maketimetovote.org.