Posted on August 20, 2020
Our Election Is at Risk. Businesses Can Help.
We are proud that CREDO Mobile has been a leader in a growing movement of purpose-driven businesses that believe they have a responsibility to help create positive social change. One of the ways we can amplify our social impact is by ensuring every voter is heard on Election Day.
Every election presents an opportunity to have a say in government priorities and create change. As COVID-19 continues to rage on around us, good governance has never been more important. Americans are suffering greatly from the inability of our political leaders to agree on a suitable response to the coronavirus. Stability, order, and the minimization of risk — key conditions needed to keep our economy running smoothly — are now in short order.
This is especially true in light of recent protests against police brutality that have swept across our nation. People are calling for racial justice and an end to police violence — issues that companies like CREDO Mobile have always cared about deeply. But we may not be able to have our say at the ballot box and ensure social and racial justice if our polling place is closed or our absentee ballot gets lost.
Luckily, businesses can help. Our friends at Business for America have identified three simple steps that any company can take to facilitate our democratic process.
1. Offer paid time off to vote on Election Day.
This is a simple one. In a 2018 report, researchers found that 44 percent of surveyed companies already offered paid time off to vote. This year, let’s aim for 100. Providing paid time off is especially crucial for low-income workers who otherwise might not be willing or able to forgo pay and head to the polls. Lower-income people also disproportionately tend to be people of color — a fact that exacerbates lower voter turnout among minorities. In light of nationwide calls for racial justice, offering paid time off to vote is one way that businesses can show genuine support.
The bottom line is this: come November, no one should have to choose between earning a paycheck and casting their ballot.
2. Provide election assistance in your community, like poll workers and PPE.
Even during a pandemic, every voter should be able to cast their ballot with confidence that it will be counted accurately and without risking their physical safety. But right now, election officials across the country are short on the resources needed to ensure the 2020 election is safe, secure, accessible, and credible.
Staffing the polls will be especially challenging since the majority of poll workers are ages 65 and up and at a high risk of COVID-19 complications. As a result, more of them are choosing to stay home, forcing election officials to close polling locations — especially in lower-income areas that are often short-staffed in ordinary times. In addition, most states will be faced with a massive surge in absentee ballots during what will likely be a record turnout election, and they may lack the funds to manage this increase. In some cases, election officials find themselves having to shift funds from critical cybersecurity in order to purchase PPE.
Voters who don’t receive their absentee ballots then have to choose whether to risk their health in order to exercise their fundamental right to vote. If the election process is chaotic and voters are unable to vote, the entire election’s results could be called into question.
Business for America is mobilizing businesses to help the 2020 election go smoothly. We urge businesses across the country to offer assistance through Operation Vote Safe. Ask your employees to sign up to become election workers. Provide personal protective equipment to ensure the safety of voters and poll workers alike. Offer business facilities as voting stations that provide ample space for social distancing. Provide technology support. Help deliver effective voter communications that combat misinformation. These are all great ways to engage your employees while helping to make an impact in your community.
3. Make democracy a key part of your corporate purpose and sustainability goals.
Getting involved during the runup to Election Day is essential, but so much more must be done to restore confidence in our democratic institutions.
The health of our democracy is vital to our future because we need politics to function well and allow us to implement public choices on important issues. So, as businesses seek to strengthen representative democracy, they are also preserving a vital public resource. This is corporate civic engagement of the best possible kind. It’s not about businesses using political power to advance corporate interests; it’s about businesses working with their employees, customers, and community stakeholders to shape a government that works for all of us.
With businesses, government, and communities working in tandem, there is every reason to believe that this year’s unprecedented election can still be one that restores America’s faith in democracy. To learn more and get involved, please visit www.BFA.us.