Many of the small business owners in our network worry that helping their employees register and vote might be too “political.” Things have changed over the past few election cycles. Eight out of ten workers want their employer to get involved. And so do eight out of ten of customers. This election, you risk more by not getting involved.
So here are five things you can do:
1. Help your employees register and find out where, when, and how to vote. Election laws are complicated, and they vary from state to state. Also, an employee that moved since the last election may need to update her voter profile. The good news? A few emails or social media posts will make a big difference. Send them to vote.org. If you’re interested in doing more, you can partner with one of dozens of service organizations. We found it helps to find one that matches your team’s interests, demographics, or culture. Do your employees love music? Partner with HeadCount. Lots of young women on your team? Partner with Ignite. LatinX team members? Partner with VotoLatino.
2. Give them time to vote during the workday — and encourage them to vote early. One in three non-voters say scheduling conflicts with work or school kept them from voting. Make sure your employees have enough time to vote if they choose to do so in person, and remind them that lines are shorter during early voting periods. This is particularly important for employees with children or a second job. To find out when early voting begins in your state, visit vote.org/early-voting-calendar/.
3. Speak out in favor of policies that can encourage voting and make it easier. We should be making it easier to vote in this pandemic, but many states are not. When business leaders speak out, elected representatives listen. Consider joining hundreds of America’s most respected companies that support Time to Vote or ElectionDay.org.
4. Stand up for voters most likely to be silenced or suppressed. Young Americans are 20% less likely to vote, and Black, Asian, and Latinx voters turn out at lower rates than their white counterparts. Learn how to help at VotoLatino, Rock the Vote, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and NextGen America.
5. Prepare your employees for “election week” uncertainty. Some states won’t begin counting mail-in ballots until election day, and some will accept ballots postmarked by election day even if they arrive later. This means vote totals could take more than a week, resulting in a delayed decision. Setting expectations early will encourage patience and help your employees manage anxiety in the days after November 3rd.
For more information, download our employer toolkits below.