Hundreds of U.S. companies plan to give employees time off to vote in this year’s presidential election as part of a business-led push to lift the nation’s traditionally low voter turnout, The Wall Street Journal reports.
At least 383 companies, with more than 2 million workers in 50 states, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Target Corp., and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co., have signed on to the Time to Vote initiative. Organizers say they aim to enlist 1,000 companies by November, more than double the number that participated in a similar turnout drive in the 2018 midterm elections.
Some states require employers to give workers time to vote if requested, but many companies are taking additional steps. A number plan to grant paid time off, while a few businesses such as the outdoor clothing company Patagonia say they might close stores and offices on Election Day. Some companies are also rolling out monthslong get-out-the-vote campaigns and helping employees navigate a patchwork of voter-registration deadlines and primary dates.
“Democracy really only works if people go out and vote,” says Chip Bergh, chief executive of Levi Strauss. “So how do we make sure that every eligible voter is registered and gets out?”
The initiative is a nonpartisan effort, the companies say, although some organizers of the Time to Vote campaign have been linked to political causes.
“This is not about who gets elected,” says Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-chief executive of the eyeglasses seller Warby Parker, one of the participating employers. “This is about ensuring people participate in our democracy.” Read the full story.