This article is a guest post by Kyra Geithman, Manager of Programs and Initiatives for the Mayor's Office in the City and County of San Francisco.
This November’s election is shaping up to be one of the most influential in United States history. Beyond the national level, there are many state and local ballot measures and elections that will directly impact all U.S. citizens, including businesses and employers.
It is important that we not only support but more importantly empower people to exercise their right to vote.
While many states have requirements to allow employers to provide time off to vote, it may be difficult for shift workers to proactively schedule their vote, since their schedules may not be as predictable.
Beyond just providing time off to cast their ballot, people still need time to research what exactly is on that ballot, including those state and local issues. In San Francisco alone, voters will see 25 ballot measures (13 local and 12 state) on issues ranging from affirmative action and independent contractors to funding for local schools, healthcare, and transportation. Often, these issues are decided by a narrow margin – which is why every vote truly matters.
There are plenty of resources you can reference in navigating your local ballot measures. For example, local newspapers and outlets frequently provide ballot measure guides, in addition to resources provided by your City and County. Here in San Francisco, voters can visit the Department of Elections' official voter guide for voter and ballot measure information.
Many cities and counties are stepping up to ensure people have safe, secure ways to cast their ballots. This includes options like early in-person voting and mail-in ballots. Some cities are also calling for additional poll workers to support in-person polling. In San Francisco, the Department of Elections is recruiting to fill nearly 100 temporary positions to assist with preparations for the November 3, 2020 Election. Learn more here.
That said, employers also have a significant role to play in making sure their employees are able to take the time to research the issues and cast their ballot. This is especially important on a state and local level, where workers have a right to have their voices heard on measures that directly impact their local communities and economies.
Be sure to check with your local county elections office about what resources and requirements they have for employers on how to support your workers’ right to vote. Get your team involved in the process and develop a voting strategy for how you can navigate scheduling time to vote leading up to and on Election Day.