There's been a heated debate in recent years about whether Election Day should be a national holiday. The ability to get time off to vote is a liberty some workers simply don’t have. For many who work within a strict schedule, it can be difficult to find time before or after work to rush to the polls and cast their vote, especially if there are long lines and wait times.
Given the abysmal voter turnout in 2016 — with only 43% of eligible voters showing up to the polls — some companies have taken it upon themselves to support democracy by giving their employees a paid day off for the presidential election on Nov. 3. A nonpartisan organization called Time to Vote launched this February to encourage companies to offer employees “time off on Election Day or making it a day without meetings.” Now, more than 600 companies have joined the movement.
Here are some of the big companies that are joining in.
Best Buy announced they will be shortening business hours on Nov. 3 to allow their employees sufficient time to get out and vote. “We will shorten our hours of operation on Nov. 3, either by opening late or closing early. This one-day adjustment will include all Best Buy operations stores and services, including in-home work, field offices and our corporate campus,” the company announced in a press release.
One of Time to Vote’s partners, Blue Apron, spoke to TMRW about their decision to work with the movement. “My mother was a voter registrar,” said Linda Kozlowski, the company's CEO. “We took the initiative because we think it’s incredibly important that our employees’ voices are heard. To ensure this, we removed the barrier of just giving the day off, but also provided the resources of voter registration, voter education and transportation in order to make sure their votes were properly cast.” Kozlowski added that she hopes this builds the foundation for more people to vote; not only in the upcoming election, but in other elections to come.
In addition to partnering with Time To Vote movement, Lyft announced they’ll be working with nonprofit companies to offer 50% off or free ride codes to get voters to the polls. Their offer is part of their LyftUp initiative to provide transportation to those who are without access or who need it the most.
On their Nike News site, the fitness company announced their partnership with Time To Vote and said the changes will be tailored to the employee's needs and which state they reside in so that they don't have to “choose between voting and earning a paycheck."
Twitter sent a company-wide email detailing that, moving forward, all national election voting days will be paid days off. Twitter did note, however, that employees responsible for the security and functionality of election-related work will continue to work on those days.
Since the method of voting is subject to location, many brands have also taken it upon themselves to team up with voter-resource organizations like Vote 411, Rock The Vote, When We All Vote and more. For more information on how to vote in your state, visit nbcnews.com/planyourvote.