Several major coalitions, without party affiliations but with big corporate names under their banners, are working to get out the vote during a pivotal year in politics.
As primary season kicks into high gear—despite fits and starts—so, too, does a message that has wide support: Broad participation in elections is good for democracy.
A number of coalitions are ramping up their civic engagement initiatives, many with prominent corporate participants. Recently, the nonprofit Democracy Works announced that its new coalition, the Civic Alliance, has secured commitments from companies as diverse as health insurers (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota), cable TV networks (MTV), film production companies (Bad Robot), coffee chains (Starbucks), tech giants (Snapchat), and even a well-known craft brewer (Magic Hat). The alliance says its mission is to encourage people to vote, take part in the 2020 census, and follow through on other civic duties.
At the center of the campaign is the CAA Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the well-known Hollywood talent agency. In a statement, CAA President Richard Lovett touted the diversity of brands taking part.
“We have commitments from dozens of leading companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Starbucks, who will work together to support the strength of our communities and democracy, particularly in an election year where we can encourage first-time voters, promote online registration efforts, and create digital campaigns to help people find their nearest polling station,” Lovett said. “We hope more companies and citizens will join us in this effort to shape a more optimistic future.”
The Civic Alliance isn’t alone on this front. In 2018, the clothing company Patagonia announced a nonprofit of its own, Time to Vote, with a goal of increasing voter participation on Election Day. The coalition has more than 350 members—including entertainment labels like Epitaph Records, major retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods, game publishers like Electronic Arts, and a number of outdoor retailers—that have pledged to ensure their employees have time to hit the polls. The campaign may well have made an impact, notes Sustainable Brands: The 2018 election had the biggest turnout of any midterm in the past 40 years, according to the Pew Research Center.
It’s a sign of momentum that Time to Vote hopes to build on.
“Demonstrating your company’s commitment to voting reinforces the idea that American businesses can protect our democracy,” Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario said in a statement on the group’s website. “I have been heartened to see business leaders from every corner of the country and across a range of industries prioritizing the health of our democracy, and I look forward to seeing this movement grow.”