A Publication of WTVP

If it seems as though the presidential election cycle has been going on for months—it has. However, Election Day—November 4th—will be here before we know it. As an employer, it has never been more important to encourage employees to vote! Elected officials have a direct and indirect impact on our ability to conduct business—including “people” practices. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has developed a “user friendly” toolkit in cooperation with the Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) that can be easily accessed to start a campaign in your own organization; just go to

So what should you to do to get a Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaign started? First, decide how much you want to do. Your campaign can be as simple as posting a sign on your bulletin board close to Election Day to encourage your employees to vote. You should begin early enough to remind people to register to vote. In Illinois, residents have until October 7, 2008 to do so, as the registration deadline is 28 days before the election. Next, decide whether you want to target just your employees or your customers and suppliers, too. If you have a number of branch locations, decide whether you will conduct a GOTV campaign at every location.

It’s important to conduct your GOTV campaign in a non-partisan manner by reviewing federal and state election laws. Do not encourage your employees to support specific candidates, parties or positions on issues, for example. Federal law concerning voter registration drives and get-out-the-vote efforts can be summarized as follows:

  • Your company must: provide registration information to all employees regardless of their individual political opinions and give employees written notice of the non-partisan nature of the drive.
  • Your company must not: endorse, support or oppose any candidate or political party in conjunction with a voter registration drive; tell employees for whom to cast their vote in conjunction with a voter registration drive; coordinate voter registration drives with any candidate or political party; or use phone banks to encourage all employees or the public to register or vote for any particular candidate or party. 
  • Your company may: encourage every member of your staff to register to vote (This applies equally to executives, managers and professionals, as well as non-exempt staff, such as line-workers or drivers.); identify your company as the sponsor of your voter-registration drive (This includes using your business logo and stationery.); reprint and distribute registration forms if state and local laws permit (This can include giving money to state and local election officials to help cover the cost of printing official forms.); and pay for ads urging employees to register and to vote.

Once you decide what you want to do, let your employees know about it! Use a staff meeting to kick off your GOTV campaign. Emphasize how important the voting process is to you, to their families, to the company and to the country. The NAM website even has sample letters that can be used in the communications strategy.

Participation in a GOTV campaign need not be expensive or time-consuming. You’ll find that just a little effort can lead to overwhelming participation. Your involvement can be as simple as displaying Get Out the Vote posters, or as elaborate as setting up your own on-site voter registration drive (if eligible). You decide.

It is important to encourage employees to exercise their right to vote. Help them see that, contrary to popular belief, the voting process is not complicated or inconvenient. Help employees realize that the right to vote is an opportunity not to be taken for granted. Lead your employees, suppliers and customers to the voting booths on Election Day. iBi