When it comes to participation at the polls, the U.S. lags behind nearly every other developed country in the world — and that’s in the best of times. This year, our country will face even greater challenges as we hold our election during a global pandemic. Everything from threats to mail-in voting, a lack of healthy poll workers, and malfunctioning voting machines could lead to longer lines and longer waits.
Time to Vote is a business-led, nonpartisan coalition that was created to encourage voter participation by ensuring employees have the time and resources they need to cast their ballot. And as the November election draws near, the movement is seeing unprecedented momentum.
Today, more than 700 companies with employees in all 50 states have joined Time to Vote, with more than 200 of these companies joining in the last two months alone. What began as an effort created by three California-based companies – Levi Strauss & Co., Patagonia and PayPal – has become a national movement that spans industries and geographies and includes some of the largest employers in the country, including Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Nike, the Coca-Cola Company, VISA and many more.
In total, Time to Vote companies have the potential to make it easier for at least 6 million U.S.-based employees to vote this election season.
“Since its inception, Time to Vote has been a powerful advocate for voter access and participation,” said Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, vice president and Women & Democracy Fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, a leading nonpartisan institute on democracy and justice in the U.S. “When so many influential business leaders join forces – and take a stand on the vital issues of civic engagement – it sends a compelling message. The Time to Vote coalition’s commitment to give employees time off to vote, especially now when the challenges are so dire, can address one of the biggest barriers to voter participation.”
Time to Vote companies have announced a variety of programs to ensure their employees are able to fully participate in the election, such as making Election Day a paid company holiday, offering paid time off to vote or promoting initiatives such as early voting and vote-by-mail, particularly in light of the challenges of voting during the pandemic.
We’re proud of the traction Time to Vote has received to date, but this effort is far from over. We hope to have 1,000 companies signed up by Election Day.
Beyond November, Time to Vote aims to contribute to a true cultural shift, where America’s business leaders create and maintain a working environment where their employees are encouraged to make the time to vote for every local, state and national election.
See all current Time to Vote members and join the movement by visiting maketimetovote.org.