November 3, 2020 marks Election Day in the United States, but millions of Americans have been voting for days and even weeks in states across the country. Even though higher-than-normal voter turn-out is expected this year, historically just a little over half of the voting-age population makes it to the polls and too many of our fellow citizens face barriers to voting. According to Nielsen, only a small percentage of registered voters regularly vote during general and primary elections; over half of Americans are occasional voters who have voted less than half the time in the past four election cycles. Further, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to make it all the more important to ensure eligible Americans can vote safely and help out at the polls this year. To support and encourage Americans’ civic engagement, ITI member companies are taking unprecedented action by making it easier for their employees and users to have the information, access, and ability they need to vote and volunteer at the polls.
For example, Intel is providing specific voting information state by state, encouraging a meeting-free day on Election Day, and as in past years, providing paid time off for employees to vote or volunteer. Similarly, ITI grants its employees paid time off to vote. Teradata has designated election day in the U.S. as a company holiday. For employees outside the U.S., a company holiday for voting will be added to countries that hold elections during business hours starting in 2021. Companies like Equinix and HP are focused on providing employees with resources to help get registered and find information on national, state, and local elections.
But there’s much more bringing tech together in this cause. Learn more about what ITI members are doing to support this historic effort:
Adobe started its “Create Change From Home: Get Ready to Vote Challenge” to help employees gain useful voter information. From September 21 to October 30, employees can complete four “missions” to discover helpful voter resources, challenge their understanding of the issues, identify key dates and requirements for their state, and see ways to share what they learn with others. Each week of the campaign, four randomly selected participants who have completed at least one activity will receive a $100 grant to donate to the charity of their choice.
Grant Thornton launched a Get Out The Vote campaign that featured office champions marshaling their colleagues and communities to register to vote, which included a major communications push on National Voter Registration Day, September 22. The company also partnered with the League of Women Voters and built a website, www.vote411.org/GrantThornton, to publicize election information, including how to register to vote and check voter registration status. Employees who volunteer at the polls can use a unique time code.
Salesforce has been working on nonpartisan Get Out The Vote plans for their employees for the last 18 months, including reminding employees to register to vote. Salesforce also launched an interactive training on how to be civically engaged for their employees in 2018, which is now available free to the public on Saleforce’s Trailhead. More recently, the company has hosted a candidate speaker series and is giving its employees information on their local ballot and how to look up their polling location. Further, Salesforce employees who volunteer at the polls can log their time as volunteer time off – something 600 employees have already signed up to do.
Snap has also had a significant impact on voter registration, with a particular focus on young, first-time voters. Using Snapchat’s Register to Vote Mini, users can register to vote and check their state’s voter registration deadline. Voters can also see their sample ballot directly on Snapchat using “Before You Vote,” a partnership with BallotReady. Snap reports that their tools have already registered over one million people to vote. Snap is partnering with Power the Polls to recruit young people to volunteer to staff in-person voting locations.
Twitter highlighted National Voter Registration Day to encourage users to register to vote and confirm their registration status on the platform. Leading up to September 22, every person with a Twitter account located in the United States saw a home timeline prompt encouraging them to register to vote or confirm their registration via TurboVote. Twitter made these voting-related alerts available in over 40 languages, depending on each person’s individual app settings.
VMware created a comprehensive “Voter Guide” for its U.S. employees, which lists voter registration and mail-in ballot request deadlines for all 50 states plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. In states where VMWare has a large corporate presence, employees received an email the day before their state’s mail-in ballot request deadline to remind them of the deadline. Employees are encouraged to make a plan to vote and managers have been directed to work with their employees to ensure that they have ample time off to vote and/or volunteer.
This year, it’s more important than ever that all Americans make their voices heard at the ballot box. ITI member companies are doing everything they can to make sure that every American can exercise their civic duty to vote.