Retailers are seeking to do their part to boost voter turnout as shoppers express greater interest in social responsibility. More than 300 companies are supporting their associates’ voting rights by partnering with the Time to Vote campaign, which is committed to helping employees reach the polls on Election Day, Nov. 6.
Time to Vote participants include major retailers such as Walmart, Patagonia, GAP and Dick’s Sporting Goods. All of the initiative’s partners have pledged to drive voter participation through programs such as paid time off, holding a no-meetings workday and offering resources for mail-in ballots and early voting.
Each participating company can choose how it will encourage employees to vote. Cava, a Mediterranean restaurant chain, is offering its associates two hours of paid leave on Election Day, according to CNBC. Levi Strauss & Co. is also naming volunteer “voting captains” across the company to hold registration drives and educate workers, in addition to offering paid time off.
Other retailers are taking a more dramatic approach: Patagonia will close all its stores on Nov. 6 to encourage its employees to vote, continuing a practice the company adopted in 2016. Evelyn & Arthur, a women’s apparel retailer that operates 10 locations in Florida and South Carolina, invited the League of Women Voters to hold voter registration drivers at several of its Florida stores in early October, and also will remain closed Nov. 6.
“Our democracy simply works better when people go vote,” said Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia in a statement. “Demonstrating your company’s commitment to voting reinforces the idea that American businesses can protect our democracy. I have been heartened to see business leaders from every corner of the country and across a range of industries prioritizing the health of our democracy, and I look forward to seeing this movement grow.”