Tuesday, Nov. 7, is General Election Day in the U.S. While non-federal election years tend to focus on local- and state-level races, like city councils and school boards, and state ballot measures, supporting employees’ right to vote in all election cycles is important. Supporting voting rights, voter equity and fair elections are non-partisan actions that benefit all businesses and their employees.
All eyes are already on the 2024 presidential and congressional elections, with primaries beginning in early March. Learn what your organization can do now and through next November to make sure it’s prepared – from supporting voting rights to making it easy for employees to vote and aligning corporate donations to organizational values.
Support voter equity and fair elections
Make no mistake: Employees — and increasingly, business partners, customers and communities — expect businesses to lead with clarity and ensure company values guide policies, actions and strategic business decisions. Companies are uniquely positioned to make a significant difference on the issue of voting rights, which creates trust with employees and other stakeholders and is ultimately good for business. Supporting and advocating for inclusive voting rights and fair, accessible and secure elections provides a critical opportunity for businesses to authentically live their values.
Learn more about how your organization can get involved and take action to support voter equity and fair elections by exploring these non-partisan resources:
- Civic Alliance: A non-partisan group of businesses working together to build a future where everyone participates in shaping our country.
- Brennan Center for Justice: An independent, non-partisan law and policy organization that works to reform, revitalize, and when necessary, defend our country’s systems of democracy and justice.
- Voting Rights Alliance: A non-partisan network of organizations, activists and legislators working to restore and protect voting rights from attempts to undermine access to the polls and to having votes fairly counted.
- Fair Elections Center: A national, non-partisan voting rights and election reform organization working to remove barriers to registration and voting, particularly for disenfranchised, underrepresented and marginalized communities.
Make it easy for your employees to vote and get involved
Businesses benefit from an engaged electorate. Help make it easy for your employees to vote by:
- Joining business community voting groups. Beehive is an active member of MakeTimeToVote.org and ElectionDay.org, non-partisan movements — led by the business community — with a singular goal: to increase voter participation.
- Sharing voter resources. Share non-partisan resources like BallotReady and Vote.gov to support and empower employees to vote. BallotReady previews local ballots and helps users review candidates. Vote.gov helps employees understand the different ways they can vote, including important deadlines.
- Giving employees paid time off. In national election years, Beehive offers employees up to four hours of paid volunteer time off to vote and engage in other election-related activities like writing postcards, phone banking, being an election judge, door knocking and committee participation. In non-national election years, employees get up to an hour of paid time off to vote in state and local elections.
- Declaring “meeting-free” blocks of time. Agree to avoid scheduling meetings on Election Day during the first and last two hours of the workday (or better yet – the whole day) to ensure employees have time to vote, especially if long poll lines are expected.
- Offering incentives. Offer an incentive to employees who vote, like free breakfast or lunch for anyone wearing an “I Voted” sticker. Share employee photos on your internal and external social media channels to encourage colleagues and followers to make time to vote.
Evaluate corporate and leader contributions and donations
Employees increasingly care about organizational values, social responsibility, authenticity and transparency. At the same time, political spending on elections has increased. More than double was spent on the 2020 presidential election cycle over 2016, which itself was record-breaking. This is placing more scrutiny on political donations.
Organizations should take this time to review corporate, traditional and leadership donations. These can include donations to: Political Action Committees (PACs), Super PACs, or hybrid PACs, fundraisers or related political contributions. Reviewing the donations company leaders and board members have made is also critical.
These donations are public record and key stakeholders are looking for alignment with company values. If your organization is saying one thing (ex: we stand for equality) but doing another thing (ex: corporate donations or C-suite leaders funding campaigns for candidates who oppose LGBTQ+ policies), trust and brand reputation will suffer. See this CNBC segment for a recent example.
The time is now to develop and put into action a strategic, non-partisan approach that aligns with your company’s values and supports a thriving democracy in which every voice is heard.