Brands Pitching the 2020 “Vote”


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The 2020 presidential election falls on Nov. 3 this year.

Natalia Pozuelo-Arbide, Staff Reporter

On Tuesday, Sept. 29, Cleveland hosted the first 2020 Presidential Debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic Health Education Campus. 


Both nominees are in the midst of strategizing their campaign across the Midwest, battling for crucial swing states including Ohio. 


While countless campaign offices across the country plan for Nov. 3, many retail brands have incorporated campaigns encouraging consumers to vote in this year’s election.

Needless to say, brands, regardless of associating themselves with a nominee, are aligning their names with the hashtag “vote.” 


In addition to promoting their voting merchandise, many retail companies are even changing corporate guidelines. Due to economic repercussions resulting from COVID-19, companies want to guarantee employees paid leave time if they choose to take a couple of hours off on Election Day to go to the polls. Some companies have gone so far as to pay employees that sign up to work as poll workers on Election Day for time spent doing that. 


According to Fast Company, poll workers are defined as workers who do everything from setting up a polling place to helping voters understand the voting process and their voting rights. 


Corporations have experienced firsthand how the virus can jeopardize the health of their employees and families. As a result, these companies are attempting to further protect their customers, by encouraging employees to become poll workers, so that their consumers can minimize the time spent in public, according to Reuters. In a voter survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly half of voters said they fear difficulties with receiving absentee ballots in time to vote for the U.S. presidential elections. 


While many absentee ballots have been accounted for in this year’s election, many Americans still prefer to cast their votes in person, according to Pew Research Survey. The problem is that this year’s Election Day is anticipated to include hours-long waits due to the CDC’s social distancing mandates and a shortage of poll workers, a role often filled in the past by retired Americans, who are now extra-vulnerable to COVID-19. Even more complex this year is the smaller number of people allowed inside the polls while still providing sufficient space to efficiently process voters. 


As a result, many American retail companies have announced they will give U.S. employees who register to volunteer as poll workers a paid day off to carry out the task. For example, Tory Burch will offer a paid day off for employees working the polls


Facebook, Apple and Walmart have announced they will give employees certain hours of paid time off to vote on Election Day. Starbucks said they will give 200,000 U.S. employees an opportunity to change their schedules to take time to vote. Meanwhile, Coca-Cola, Twitter, Cisco and Uber are giving all employees the day off. 


“I think [giving employees the day off is] a wonderful idea because it demonstrates just how important voting is and will allow people the time they might not have originally had to get to the polls,” Katie Sutton ‘23 said.


Patagonia completely closed its headquarters, distribution center and stores nationwide for the general elections in 2016 and 2018. According to CNBC, the company will continue this practice in 2020, offering a paid holiday for employees.


Companies like Old Navy, Target and Warby Parker are even paying employees to vote and work at the polls. Old Navy is working in partnership with the Civic Alliance and Power the Polls in a national movement to recruit 250,000 new poll workers to ensure polling sites stay open and operate efficiently across the country on Nov. 3. 


Sophomore Katy Zoller said, “I’m encouraged to see so many businesses that are supporting young people who can help every American participate in our civic duty, especially with the dangers of COVID-19.”


As we reach “sweater weather season,” social media have erupted with brands releasing new designs or simply promoting advertising to participate in the election including Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Urban Outfitters, Levi’s, Snapchat, Spotify, Under Armour, Patagonia, Gap and Airbnb. Furthermore, consumers who purchase these brands’ voting-logo merch or subscriptions to the company will automatically have a portion of their purchase’s profit donated to charities that assist in voter registration across the nation.