Carrie Freeman explains why our U.S. team will have the day off and what she hopes they will do with the time.
Thursday, October 15, 2020
The U.S. Election Day – Tuesday, November 3rd – is less than three weeks away.
As an organization that prides itself in community engagement and is driven by social impact, we thought it was fitting to encourage our team members who are citizens of and living in the U.S. to exercise their civic duty to vote, and to encourage others to do the same. That’s why, for the first time in SecondMuse history, our U.S. offices will be closed on Election Day.
Our hope is that those who are able will refocus that time towards doing two important things: voting and volunteering to help with election efforts. We are encouraging team members to offer their time to work at polls, if they are comfortable doing so. Many of the usual poll workers are over the age of 61 and are therefore particularly vulnerable to complications if they contract COVID-19. Consequently, a shortage of poll workers is expected, which means people may not get the assistance they need. This could subsequently impact voter turnout, inclusion, and accessibility.
SecondMuse team members will be paid for the day through our Prosperity Lab benefit program, which encourages community engagement by offering paid time off specifically earmarked for volunteering. Since states offer poll workers stipends, we are encouraging our team members to follow the lead of the SecondMuse NY Hub, and commit to donating the money to other election efforts.
In lieu of taking Election Day off, team members have the option of using paid time ahead of the vote to do related volunteer work, through organizations like Rock The Vote. Volunteer work could include community organizing, going to a VoteFest or signing up to text and call voters on Election Day. Or, through Vote FWD, SecondMusers can write letters encouraging others to vote. Data shows that voters who receive a letter reminding them to vote are more likely to do so. So, we encourage everyone to grab your quills and fountain pens and get writing! The big send is scheduled for October 17th so that letters arrive ahead of Election Day.
We share these plans to encourage and inspire other organizations to join us in making voting, the centerpiece of civic engagement, easier and more accessible for every U.S. citizen.