US voter turnout is known to be lower than most developed countries — in 2012, just slightly more than 50% of the voting-age population cast ballots. In a Wall Street Journal OpEd last week, retail CEO Tory Burch urged other executives to follow in her decision to give employees time off on November 8 to vote. This week, Edelman announced it would delay opening all its 14 US offices until 11:30am on Election Day to make it easier for employees to vote.
"When we asked our Edelman U.S. employees what keeps them from getting to the polls, most cited time as the No. 1 barrier," CEO Richard Edelman said in a blog post. "Even with flexible time off to vote, it’s still difficult for our people to juggle work, polls, childcare and other responsibilities."
Here's a roundup of how some other US firms are handling November 8.
"At Text100, we’re engaging in a 'Register, Vote, Discuss' campaign.
Register: We’re pushing all of our staff members to be sure they are registered by the deadlines in their state, alerting them to the deadlines and encouraging them to register.
Vote: On Election day, we’re going to have all of our offices working on a flex schedule, allowing staff to either arrive late or leave early, depending on what works better for their schedules and client needs.
Discuss: The morning after the election, we’re hosting a breakfast in each office to have staff come in to talk about the results together.
This is such a critical election for both the U.S. and the world, and so we want to encourage all of our staff to participate in the process. We’ll be promoting many of these activities via our social channels to try to create greater impact outside of Text100 as well." - Ken Peters, regional director
"The best PR people are the ones who are actively engaged in the world around them, and it's hard to imagine a more important issue to be engaged with than this year's presidential election. I think I have some pretty great PR people on my team, so if any of them want to spend time getting out the vote - for either side - I've encouraged them to take a day off to make calls, drive people to polling stations, knock on doors or any other related activity." - Josh Inglis, founder
Day One Agency
"We’d like to let you know that we are officially marking this election day, Tuesday, November 8, a work from home day (WFH) for the agency. Between lines at polling stations, trying to figure out how to get out of the office early or to the polls super early to go vote, traveling out of town because you’re registered elsewhere and all of the other hurdles we sometimes face throughout the workday on Election Day, we thought it would be helpful to everyone to WFH so you can fulfill your constitutional right to vote." - blog post
"Highwire is allowing all employees to work from home on Tuesday, November 8, so that they can head to the polls at a time that is most convenient. Additionally, we are adding a social element to encourage others to get out and vote. If employees share a photo of their "I Voted" sticked on social media along with the hashtag #HighwirePRVotes, employees will receive the extra incentive of being able to sign off early that Friday!"
"Been in business since 1991. [We] always give whole staff off on the presidential Election Day. It's always important." - Richard Laermer, CEO
Photo credit: Flickr user Memphis CVB