Locally-based financial cooperative, Arizona Federal Credit Union is one of more than 700 companies nationwide who have now joined Time to Vote, a business-led, nonpartisan coalition that aims to increase voter participation in the U.S. elections. Voter turnout in the U.S. is one of the lowest in the developed world and one of the most common reasons people give for not voting is that they are too busy with the demands of life and work. The coalition, which represents more than six million workers in the U.S.*, is addressing this challenge by giving employees the time and the tools they need to exercise their right to vote in the November general election.
The 2020 elections are anticipated to face many unique challenges. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the stakes for removing barriers to voting are higher than ever. Recent primaries have suffered from a lack of poll workers and malfunctioning voting machines, resulting in even longer wait times.
Arizona Federal Credit Union has provided flex scheduling to employees on election day for many years, and this year will continue that trend. Additionally, the credit union is offering additional work from home options for some employees that day and has been distributing internal communications about early ballot options.
“Some of the measures we implement seem insignificant, but are all simple ways to make sure our employees feel empowered to take part in this most important of civic duties,” says Jason Paprocki, chief operating officer at Arizona Federal Credit Union. “As employers, making some sort of accommodation whether paid time off, flex scheduling, encouraging early voting by mail or a combination of all just promotes greater participation which is what’s most important.”
So far this year, more than 700 companies – including workers in all 50 states and spanning a variety of industries – have joined Time to Vote. Over 200 companies have joined in the last two months alone, demonstrating the increased momentum of the movement as the election draws near.
“Since its inception, Time to Vote has been a powerful advocate for voter access and participation,” said Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, vice president and Women & Democracy Fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, a leading nonpartisan institute on democracy and justice in the U.S. “When so many influential business leaders join forces – and take a stand on the vital issues of civic engagement – it sends a compelling message. The Time to Vote coalition’s commitment to give employees time off to vote, especially now when the challenges are so dire, can address one of the biggest barriers to voter participation.”
Other Time to Vote companies have announced a variety of measures to ensure their employees are able to fully participate in the general election, such as making Election Day a paid company holiday, offering paid time off on Election Day and actively promoting initiatives such as early voting and vote-by-mail, particularly in light of the challenges presented by voting amid a global pandemic.
Time to Vote is asking more companies to join the movement and commit to giving its employees the time and resources they need to vote. The goal is to have more than 1,000 companies – from a diverse set of industries representing every state – join the movement by November 3.
Businesses interested in joining Time to Vote can visit maketimetovote.org.