Voting, our most basic and fundamental right as a democracy, is under threat, so Patagonia is doing its part to help ensure we have safe, free and fair elections this November. As we stand with the millions of Americans who want to elect climate leaders and see wild places protected for future generations, Patagonia will work with our partners across the country to help people exercise their right to choose their future and make a plan to vote.
Patagonia will close its doors on Election Day, like we did in 2016 and 2018. And this year, for the first time, we will also offer employees up to four days off to train and serve as poll workers to help mitigate the nationwide shortage. While on the clock, Patagonia employees will also help get out the vote by writing handwritten letters or texting low-propensity voters, because research from the Environmental Voter Project indicates at least 10 million environmentalists did not vote in the 2016 elections.
According to a recent study by the Brookings Institution that looked at state rankings of vote-by-mail pandemic preparedness, seven states where Patagonia has retail locations received a grade of C or D, indicating it will be difficult for voters to cast their ballot by mail. To help address this, Patagonia retail stores will be partnering with local groups to share up-to-date, localized information on voting policies and procedures, and to answer questions so that voters have the information they need to participate in this election.
Some of the specific things Patagonia will be doing to make democracy more accessible:
- Closing our headquarters, distribution center and retail stores on Election Day.
- Offering up to four additional days of paid time off so Patagonia employees can volunteer as poll workers and/or text or write handwritten letters to encourage everyone eligible to make a plan to vote.
- Growing the Time to Vote coalition so US workers don’t have to choose between earning a paycheck and voting. In 2018, 411 companies participated in the Time to Vote movement. This year there are more than 1,000 companies.
- Encouraging our community to make a plan to vote and providing applications for mail-in ballots.
- Sharing localized information through virtual events and social media.
- Recruiting poll workers through Power the Polls, More Than a Vote and the Georgia Youth Poll Worker Project to address local election needs.
- Providing access to a photocopier in places where a copy of your ID is required with your mail-in ballot (Dallas and Austin stores).
- Providing grants, paid ads and local engagement to groups helping to mobilize people to get out and vote, including organizations that work specifically with Black, Indigenous and communities of color where voter suppression is particularly rampant.
“Patagonia is doing our part to ensure this November’s elections are accessible for all eligible voters,” said Hilary Dessouky, Patagonia’s general counsel. “Already this election has been marred by misinformation about voting, roadblocks to accessible voting and threats to cut essential voting services like the US Postal Service, which allow people to vote safely and securely. Patagonia is prioritizing time off to vote, and we encourage others to vote, serve as poll workers and share localized information to help make sure all voices are heard this November.”