Get the DealBook newsletter to make sense of major business and policy headlines — and the power-brokers who shape them.
American companies are giving the country’s politicians a civics lesson.
Walmart, Tyson Foods, Levi Strauss and hundreds of other companies are encouraging their employees to cast a ballot in this week’s congressional elections. They are acting largely because a jumble of state laws and the lack of a national holiday will make voting a challenge for many workers.
United States federal law designates the first Tuesday of November for national elections, which is an inconvenience to many people because it falls on a workday. That’s why more than 370 companies have signed on to the Make Time to Vote initiative. They are easing the path in various ways, including giving employees paid time off to vote on Nov. 6. Walmart’s participation is notable because the retailer is the largest private employer in the United States, with 1.5 million staff.
Voter turnout in the United States is remarkably low. During the last congressional midterm elections in 2014, only 36 percent of people eligible to cast a ballot did so — the lowest rate since World War II. The 56 percent turnout in the 2016 presidential contest ranked the United States 26th out of 32 leading developed countries, according to Pew Research.