As the 2020 election draws near, many employers are committing to help get out the vote. Your company may also be involved in various civic participation campaigns to encourage your employees to vote. With all of the activity around boosting participation and getting employees engaged, we can’t overlook the very real need to support employees as they try to actually show up at the polls.
It is anticipated that this election will have record voter turnout. This is a good thing. But it also means that employees may experience long lines and have to wait hours to cast their ballot. While some employees may experience frustration with the process, there are things employers can do to support your employees and reduce frustrations that may become a barrier to voting.
Encourage employees to vote early.
In Duval county voters can enjoy a multi-week window to cast their vote prior to election day. This option makes voting easier because your employees can vote around their schedule, at numerous locations around the city and even on weekends. Early voting is a convenient way for your employees to beat the election day crowds and stress of trying to fit in getting to polls around work and family obligations. Your business can help support employees by not only encouraging them to take advantage of early voting but providing educational resources that will allow them to create a voting plan that works for their lives.
Give employees paid time off to vote.
Taking time off or missing pay can discourage employees from voting because of the financial impact. Also, parents may have a difficult time juggling standing in lines at the polls while still managing drop off and pick up for their children. By giving employees paid time off, they can vote without having to give up pay or the added stress of balancing other conflicting responsibilities.
Educate employees on mail in or absentee voting.
For some types of businesses giving time off to vote is not an option. Or maybe given the pandemic, some employees may not feel comfortable voting in person. If voting on election day will be a challenge or health risk for your employees, your business can support them by reminding them of the option to vote by absentee ballot. Voting by mail is a safe and convenient way to participate in the election from home or anywhere.
Send out reminder emails.
We are all busy these days. With all the demands in your employees’ lives it can be easy to simply forget to vote. You can help keep voting related dates and deadlines top of mind of employees by sending out timely email reminders. A well-timed, friendly (non-partisan) reminder can make all the difference to support employees participation in the electoral process. Some key times to send out gentle reminders include:
This information is readily available on the Supervisor of Elections website. You can also provide the direct link to employees so they can refer to it for the most up to date information.
Offer flexible scheduling on election day.
Some employees may prefer to vote on election day. You can still support your employees and help them vote even if offering a full day off work is not an option. Your business could allow employees to work a flexible schedule on November 3rd to get to the polls. This could look like letting employees start work later, take an extended lunch or leave work early to vote. Since all employees will be different with their scheduling needs, where possible encourage employees to work together to determine who will come in late, leave early or take a longer lunch. By doing so you’ll be able to balance the needs of your business, while still helping employees exercise their right to vote.
Work does not have to be a reason why employees can't go to the polls to vote. With a little effort and pre-planning your business can easily help employees participate in the election process. By providing supporting employees with flexibility and resources your business can do it’s part to make sure everyone gets out to vote.
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