Without meaningful engagement in the political process, we risk being governed by those who do not share our ideals, our hopes, and our dreams for better lives now and for generations to come. And as we witnessed in the 2016 Presidential election, low voter turnout changed overnight what was once a democratic country built on hope and inclusion to one increasingly resembling an autocracy. This is NOT who we are and as business owners we have a unique opportunity to influence participation in the voting process.
My business is based in Virginia where our race for Governor is under national scrutiny — the outcome here will signal to the country who we are and aspire to be as a Nation. Voter participation is crucial and yet the voting process doesn’t accommodate the practicalities of living — kids have to be readied for day care or school, meals prepared, work commitments fulfilled…the list is long. AND solvable!
UPIC Health, LLC recognized these challenges and decided “we shall overcome!”. We energized GOTV (Get Out The Vote) with our team. For every employee who provides a picture outside of their polling station with an “I voted” sticker on their blouse or shirt, they get a bonus payout in their next check. To make sure the work doesn’t suffer, we are providing overtime to cover shifts across all hours to allow for rotations to the polling stations during the day so at the end of their day 1) kids are picked up at school/day care on time; 2) food is on the table for dinner; 3) work is covered; and 4) THEY VOTED. The entire team is energized and have even reached out to their network encouraging their friends and family to GOTV.
I’m challenging business owners in Virginia — find a way to help your employees participate in their rights as citizens of this great country. Here’s some more ideas for you — You don’t have to pay bonuses as I do. Maybe covering the cost of some absences is enough for you. But you can have a lottery with a prize (entry requires voting) or create contests amongst departments for the highest percentage of Virginia residents to vote or some other contest that is meaningful to your organization.
Also, you should tell your employees about how to vote now through November 4 at an Absentee Voter location. In Virginia, you need a reason to vote early, which can be found here. Many can check reason code 1(e) which deals with work and commuting hours. You can help your employees out by providing a list of Absentee Voting locations. Type “County Name Absentee Voting Locations” into a search bar for each county relevant to your employees to get a list of locations and hours. The Fairfax County list is shown here as an example.
Your employees have the most important job in a democracy — they are citizens. They will be proud of their organization and of you for enabling voting. Believe me — it works.
Mary is CEO of UPIC Health, LLC, a dedicated advocate for women and a very concerned citizen for the state of our nation. Twitter @UPIChealth www.linkedin.com/in/marytucker/