At TransitScreen, our mission is to create more sustainable cities by improving people’s access to transportation information. This mission is linked to transportation decisions made by elected officials in our country, whether it’s the federal transportation budget, state-wide decisions on funding certain initiatives, or having the city add a protected bike or bus lane in your neighborhood.
Unfortunately in the US, many people have to decide between working or taking unpaid time off to vote, creating an artificial barrier to exercising fundamental rights that distorts politics – of transportation and in general. It’s our conviction that everyone should be able to freely take time to exercise their right to vote. From our founding, we’ve fully supported employee paid leave for voting and volunteering, and this year we’re pleased to join a coalition of employers doing the same: the Time to Vote movement.
Time to Vote
Time To Vote is a nonpartisan movement aiming to contribute to the culture shift needed to increase voter participation in our country’s elections. Companies across the country have pledged to offer their employees paid time off to vote on Election Day, and want to change the culture to make it so employees don’t have to choose between their vote and a paycheck.
Our company is based in Washington, DC, a city whose nearly 700,000 residents, including most of our employees, are not allowed to elect a representative to Congress. This is taxation without representation, the original insult that caused the United States to declare independence. It makes it all the more important to voice our opinions the only way we can, through presidential and local races. And specifically, our office is a 5-minute walk from the White House. To not allow our employees time off to choose its occupant would be unthinkable.
Election Day off
We believe Election Day should be a national holiday. Since 2016, it’s been a TransitScreen company holiday. In addition to giving employees time to vote, we strongly encourage them to use the rest of the day to volunteer in whichever way feels right for them. Several of our employees have signed up to be poll workers this year, and others are textbanking and phonebanking to ensure turnout is high.
We encourage our employees to follow causes that are true to who they are, consistent with our company values: Stay Inspired and Be Authentic. We want them to feel comfortable as themselves and to feel empowered to help those around them.
Time off for early voting
Voting doesn’t just happen on Election Day! In many states, you have the option to vote in advance — as early as late September in Virginia, for example. Voting early is one of the best ways to ensure smooth sailing on November 3, creating lower lines and higher turnout. (And, given COVID, less unsafe crowding at the polling place.)
That’s why we allow our employees to take the time they need to vote early if that’s what’s best for them. Whether it’s dropping the ballots off or going to the closest early voting station, we want our employees and our community to be as safe as possible. Our employees can choose to take off time any day to exercise this right.
With all the confusion about how to vote this year, we want our customers and their users to have the most accurate information possible. We created QR codes slides for our screens’ Messaging feature that, when scanned, direct you to find your polling place using vote.org. Our screens are seen by millions of people every day, and we want to use that platform for good.