Many companies are taking the initiative to help increase voter turnout. According to The Washington Post, Uber will potentially start opening up some of its “greenlight hubs” to be used as polling centers. Similarly, Live Nation Entertainment is set to make five of its concert venues available for voting purposes and has more than 100 more that could be utilized. Companies like Patagonia and PayPal are partnering with Vote Forward, a non-profit organization that sends handwritten letters to encourage infrequent and first-time voters to participate more actively in democracy and make their voices heard. Also, Lush Cosmetics is offering up 26 of its stores as ballot dropoff sites and is considering making another 13 of its locations available as polling stations.
Additionally, although only a little over half of states require employers to provide paid time off for employees to vote, many companies are taking the initiative, regardless of state guidelines, to provide hours of paid time off to allow employees to vote during work hours. For example, on Election Day, Best Buy will open all of its stores two hours later than usual to provide time for employees to vote before coming to work, and Under Armour plans to provide three hours of paid time off for voting. Under Armour is also discouraging managers from planning meetings and deadlines that fall on November 3. Other major companies like Gap, Old Navy, Starbucks, and Target are providing similar allowances to encourage employees to vote.
Kisling, Nestico & Redick Encourages Voting in Ohio
Kisling, Nestico & Redick is one of the leading personal injury law firms in Ohio. It stands out from its competitors because of its attorneys’ inside knowledge of the insurance industry and exemplary customer service that is tailored to each individual client’s needs. During this election season, the firm is joining forces with other companies to help increase voter turnout.
Kisling, Nestico & Redick is both following the example of larger corporations and taking those efforts one step further by offering paid time off to its employees not just to allow them time to vote but also to encourage them to volunteer at polling places. The firm is doing this in response to the predicted shortage of poll workers across the country, primarily due to COVID-19 concerns, which could influence the number of open polling places and increase lines, which could discourage potential voters and even bar people from voting who don’t have paid time off privileges. Kisling, Nestico & Redick knows that one of the keys to encouraging people to vote is making sure that voting is accessible to everyone.
“KNR recognizes the importance of voting in our democracy, [and] every single person’s vote counts,” says John Reagan, a managing partner at the law firm. “We want to make sure that polls are properly staffed. If polls are properly staffed, in a safe and reliable manner, our election – and our democracy – works. The voices of the people are heard in our government. And our employees are a valued part of that process.”
This year, Kisling, Nestico & Redick will provide four hours of paid time off to allow employees to vote, as well as an additional four hours for poll worker training and eight hours off for employees who choose to volunteer on Election Day. Kisling, Nestico & Redick’s efforts to encourage its employees to both vote and volunteer on Election Day are an extension of its other philanthropic efforts. The firm also gives employees the opportunity to participate in their own “KNR Cares Day” every year. On this day, they are given time off to volunteer at a charity of their choice.”
Other past philanthropic efforts by the firm have included providing school supplies to local children and schools, raising money for the local food bank, promoting literacy and safety by donating books to hospitals and helmets to children, giving away turkeys on Thanksgiving, awarding scholarship money to students, and starting a campaign about the dangers of bullying. The firm has even surprised local families by paying their layaways during the holidays.
“Our employees find a great deal of satisfaction helping our clients navigate the legal system every day at work,” says Reagan. “The KNR Cares Volunteer Day is a natural extension of that giving spirit of service, extending that characteristic of our firm outside the walls of our offices and into neighborhoods and communities where we live and work. Giving is more than just donating money; it’s about acts of service and a spirit of gratitude. We are here to serve and are grateful we are able to do so every day, whether at work or in the public.”
How You Can Contribute
By now, we all know the importance of turning up at polling stations to vote, whether on Election Day or during early voting days. But there are many other ways that you can increase your personal participation in democracy, even if you don’t work for a company that’s making allowances to encourage employees and others to vote.
If you want to follow in the footsteps of Kisling, Nestico & Redick and help encourage others to vote, consider volunteering at a local polling station. It’s important that more people choose to work at polling stations this year because many of the senior citizens who typically fill these roles will be forced to stay home in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the risk that the virus poses to people in that age group. Additionally, you can even get paid to work the polls in some states; in Alabama, for example, the minimum compensation is $50.
As a worker at a polling place on Election Day, you may check in voters, answer questions, or set up voting machines, among other duties. Although the process of signing up to be a poll worker varies by location, it’s pretty simple, no matter where you are. Typically, you have the option to either fill out an online form or sign up at your local election office. For more information on how you can sign up to be a poll worker on Election Day, visit the U.S. Election Assistance Commission website.
After you sign up, you will be assigned to a polling place and receive information about how to complete your training, which typically lasts between 8 and 10 hours, prior to Election Day. After you complete the training session, you will pledge an oath of integrity and receive a certificate. After your polling location closes on Election Day, you’ll walk away knowing that you did more than just cast your ballot; you also helped ensure that other people could do the same.