Businesses Step Up To Encourage Voter Turnout
The mid-term elections are approaching and turnout is expected to be high. The 2014 midterm elections spurred only 24 percent of eligible voters to head to the polls, while an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found 65 percent of registered voters say they have a high interest in voting. Corporate America has noticed and is stepping up to encourage and facilitate voting, and their initiatives open new opportunities for products that boost turn out and celebrate participation.
A report from the Society for Human Resources Management found that 44 percent of U.S. companies will give employees paid time off to vote, up from 37 percent in 2016. And more than 400 companies have added their voice to ElectionDay.org and Time To Vote to spur turnout.
Businesses are finding ways to leverage their resources to support voters within their organizations and communities. Lyft is offering free or discounted rides on Election Day, November 6, through partnerships with various nonprofits to support underserved communities’ efforts to vote. The company is also allowing riders to find their polling place through its app.
Snapchat is meeting younger Americans where they are by connecting users over the age of 18 with an online voter registration tool.
Restaurant chain CAVA has 1,800 employees across 68 locations. For the first time this year, they can take two hours of paid time at the beginning or end of their shifts to go vote.
The outdoor clothing brand Patagonia gave its employees a paid day off to go vote in 2016 and is doing so again in 2018. In announcing that Patagonia would be shutting down its stores and office on Election Day, CEO Rose Marcario called on other U.S. companies to join them, noting, “Because no American should have to choose between a paycheck and fulfilling his or her duty as a citizen.”
Corporate interest in the elections comes as campaigns spend big on marketing and that has created an opportunity for promotional products companies.
“2018 has been very busy, compared to the last mid-terms four years ago,” says Luke Shenk, vice president of sales at distributor Capitol Promotions in Glenside, Pennsylvania. “The bulk of what we do revolves around yard signs, but campaigns have been more likely to buy additional promo items this year. Instead of just signs, it's signs and pens or signs and emery boards—that sort of thing. The larger campaigns have always bought these products, but with improvements in the economy there’s more funding, so the smaller campaigns are buying as well. And campaigns are realizing more and more that they need promotional products as ice breakers and to get their message out."
He adds, “This year has been very good for promotional products in campaigns. Everyone seems to think the presidential election is the best year, but this has been the biggest in the cycle. During presidential election, everything is consolidated. There’s more distribution for smaller candidates this year.”