With hours to go until Election Day, efforts to increase voter turnout are in full swing. Retailers recognize that civic engagement is an essential part of our democracy and are committed to supporting employees’ right to vote safely and have their voice heard.
These efforts include providing voting information resources, offering flexible scheduling for voting, launching voting encouragement campaigns, and more. Below are examples of RILA members leading the way to support employee voting and engagement in the election process.
Since 2004, Best Buy has been encouraging employees to vote via the internal Turn Up the Vote campaign. As part of the program, Best Buy encourages employees to vote on Election Day and provides civic tools and resources on an intranet site for employees. Tools that are available on this site range from voter registration and registration deadlines, information about the candidates running for office, obtain an absentee ballot, mail-in voting, ability to find your polling place, find out who and what initiatives are on your ballot and more.
This year, Best Buy will open at noon on Nov. 3, 2020 to ensure employees have time to vote and the company is also giving employees paid time off so that they can volunteer at an official polling station on Election Day.
Gap, Inc.Gap Inc. and its family of brands (Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, Intermix, and Janie and Jack) are using their platforms to reach hundreds of thousands of customers and employees in advance of the 2020 election to increase voter registration and turnout, and to ensure there are enough workers at the polls. The company has launched a multi-pronged campaign, #GapIncVotes, to amplify civic engagement efforts, with each brand harnessing unique partnerships and voices to elevate the importance of voting and being counted in the census.
In addition to paying employees to serve as poll workers on Election Day, Old Navy is partnering with the Civic Alliance and Power the Polls to recruit 250,000 new poll workers to "ensure polling sites stay open and operate efficiently across the country." Old Navy President Nancy Green recently published an op-ed in CNN Business, writing why CEOs should pay their employees to work the polls this year.
The Home Depot
The Home Depot held a massive 2020 GOTV campaign where we were able to engage over 15,540 associates in getting out to vote, registering over 2,500. We had over 2,000 engage in volunteering at the polls and donated more than 9,200 plexi shields to keep voters safe at the polls as pointed out by The Wall Street Journal. We ran a 2 month long #BeAVoter campaign where we tweeted messages to vote early and launched an external GOTV tool, HomeDepotVotes.com for anyone to learn about their candidates on the ballot, polling times and locations, and register to vote. Additionally we joined GAVotingWorks a coalition in our Home State of Georgia to encourage Georgians to get out and vote along with other large businesses in the state.
Target believes each eligible voter should make their voice heard, and has a long history of encouraging guests and team members to vote—from partnering with organizations like Time to Vote and Civic Alliance to providing all eligible team members paid time off to vote and/or serve as an election judge. The company established Vote 411 with the League of Women Voters Education Fund to serve as a resource on registering, researching what’s on the ballot, and making a voting plan.
American Eagle OutfittersAmerican Eagle partnered with HeadCount to help register voters, get election deadlines, stay informed about candidates, and find ways to get involved.
Apple is offering employees up to four hours off with pay on Election Day to vote or volunteer at a polling place.
Foot Locker is partnered with Rock the Vote to encourage voter registration and turnout on Election Day. In addition, the company will transform more than 2,000 stores into voting registration sites, empowering today’s youth to exercise their right to vote and create change.
Kohl’s supports its associates' right to vote. The retailer allows associates to take time off from work to vote and provides them with voting resources. Furthermore, Kohl’s signed onto the Make Time to Vote initiative, pledging publicly that the company will give associates time to vote.
Through their JCPVotes 2020 initiative, JCPenney is raising awareness regarding the importance of the right to vote and providing associates with flexible work schedules on election day to ensure they’re able to head to the polls. In addition, JCPenney has registered with Time to Vote, joining more than 700 other retailers to publicly pledge support and encouragement for all associates to exercise their right to vote.
Levi Strauss & Co.
Earlier this year, Levi Strauss & Co. launched voter engagement efforts with employees and kicked off work to rally the business community to encourage participation in civic engagement. As the country faces a poll worker shortage due to COVID-19, corporate and retail employees are encouraged to volunteer at their polling locations and will get up to eight hours of paid time off to do so. Levi Strauss & Co. is a founding partner of Power the Polls and so far more than 100 employees have signed up to volunteer. And to make sure employees understand what’s on their ballot and all their options to vote early and safely, the company is encouraging employees to make their voting plans and attend nonpartisan ballot education workshops through our nonprofit partner, IGNITE.
NIKE, Inc. encourages all eligible U.S. employees to register to vote and is committed to ensuring every employee registered to vote has the access, opportunity, and time where needed to cast their ballot. Because voting laws and processes vary across the country, NIKE, Inc. employee offerings will be tailored to provide adequate time to vote based on each state’s voting laws and requirements. This may include paid time off on Election Day, making Election Day a day without meetings or providing resources for mail-in ballots and early voting.
Nordstrom launched Make Your Voice Heard, a nationwide non-partisan voter participation initiative. In partnership with nonprofits When We All Vote and the National Urban League, Nordstrom aims to educate, inspire and make it easy for Nordstrom employees and customers to make their voice heard – both through responding to the 2020 Census and by voting in upcoming primaries and elections.
To make getting to the polls easier and ensure everyone has the time to vote, Nordstrom is making November 3, 2020, a holiday for all its U.S. Employees. While Nordstrom stores and operations centers remain open, the company will work with employees to set schedules which will enable them to get to the polls. Another way Nordstrom is supporting employees to participate in the voting process is by partnering with Civic Alliance to connect employees to volunteer opportunities. Finally, Nordstrom will provide its store, fulfillment center, distribution center and call center employees discounted rides to the polls through Lyft.
REI recently launched the Gear Up to Vote campaign to mobilize civic participation among its employees and members. The co-op is making sure none of its employees have to choose between voting and earning a paycheck this November. REI is also encouraging employees (and members) to ensure their voices are heard by voting early, mail-in voting or absentee voting. For employees in states that require in-person voting, REI offers flexible scheduling options as well as the option of using one of their “Co-op Way Days,” paid time off that employees can use to put their values into action, such as community service, advocacy, voting, civil participation, outdoor recreation and stewardship.
Tractor Supply Company
Tractor Supply Company launched their web site OutHereEveryVoteCounts.com to help Team Members and their family and friends register to vote, request and absentee ballot or locate their polling place.
Walmart encourages associates and customers to participate in the democratic process by giving them the tools and information they need to vote in federal, state, and local elections. Walmart is partnering with Time to Vote, a business-led, nonpartisan coalition that aims to increase voter participation in elections. On top of any state requirements, Walmart provides associates with up to three hours of paid voting time so they can cast their vote if their work schedule does not provide at least three consecutive hours of off-duty time while the polls are open. We also help associates take advantage of early voting where possible and offer flexible scheduling.
Customers and associates will see signs in stores and clubs directing them to resources that will help them stay informed and participate in the elections, from requesting an absentee ballot to voter registration deadlines to polling locations and who is on the ballot in their communities.