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5 Ways U.S. Companies, From Ride Shares to Dating Apps, Are Helping Americans Vote
Tomorrow, America heads to the polls for the midterm elections, and, as EcoWatch has pointed out, these are very important elections for the environment, giving voters a chance to fight back against the Trump administration's agenda of ignoring climate change and opening public lands to drilling and mining.
This election is so important, in fact, that eco-friendly outdoor brand Patagonia has endorsed two candidates, becoming likely the first U.S. company to ever do so. Patagonia endorsed Democratic Senate candidate Jon Tester in Montana and Democratic Senate candidate Jacky Rosen in Nevada because of their commitments to protecting public lands, but it is also working to encourage voting everywhere. The company is giving its employees the day off, and closing its retail stores.
"[V]oting is more important than shopping," Patagonia Director of Global Communications and Public Relations Corley Kenna told CBS. "Business has an important responsibility to help uphold democracy. The least we can do is make sure the employees of our company have that opportunity to exercise that right."
Patagonia isn't the only private company stepping up this election to help the American public make its voice heard. Here are five major ways that some of your favorite brands are helping to get out the vote tomorrow.
1. Voting Time
Patagonia is one of the many companies that have signed on to the Time to Vote campaign, which is an initiative that was launched by American CEOs in September to raise awareness about things employers can do to make it easier for their employees to vote. Those actions include offering paid time off, making Election Day meeting-free or spreading info about mail-in or early voting. Participants include The Gap, PayPal and Walmart.
Another group of more than 300 companies, including Spotify, Salon and Survey Monkey, has spearheaded a similar initiative called Take Off Election Day, promising to give their employees time off to vote.
2. The Ride to Vote
Rideshare company Lyft launched a campaign this summer called the "Ride to Vote." It explained its motivation in a blog post announcing its efforts:
It is estimated that over 15 million people were registered but didn't vote in 2016 because of transportation issues. That's why we're committed to providing 50% off rides across the country, and free rides to underserved communities that face significant obstacles to transportation.
Not to be outdone, in October Uber announced the steps it would take to help Americans vote, including adding a tool to the app to help voters find and book a ride to their polling place, offering free rides and providing Uber users with voter registration resources.
3. Election Dates
The dating app Bumble came up with a unique way to encourage people to vote. The app, which has 41 million users worldwide, allows users to display their intention to vote on their profile. If anyone is looking for a civic-minded partner, Bumble just made that easier. The app will also send notifications reminding users to follow-through on their commitment.
"We have a real opportunity around election season to really be an advocate for voter registration," Bumble Chief Operating Officer Sarah Jones Simmer told CBS.
4. Registration Applications
Bumble isn't the only app encouraging its users to vote. Fellow dating app Tinder teamed up with Rock the Vote to encourage voter turnout, Snapchat registered more than 400,000 users and music app Pandora shared an ad on National Registration Day in which the artist Common encouraged users to register and find their polling place.
"It's your chance to make sure your voice is heard," Common said in the ad, according to CBS. "Tap the link on your screen now to make sure these midterms are on your terms."
Swipe the Vote | Tinder www.youtube.com
5. Fighting Voter Suppression
Twitter and Facebook are in hot water following the 2016 election. There are concerns that the spread of false news on the popular social media platforms might have influenced the results, as Vox explained.
That is likely why they are eager to redeem themselves this time around as they attempt to delete false or misleading posts discouraging people from voting. As of Friday, Twitter had deleted more than 10,000 automatic accounts designed to keep people away from the polls. Both services are getting rid of posts that spread misinformation about how to mail in a ballot, alter pictures to make lines at polling places look longer than they are and say that it is possible to vote online, among other lies.
One rumor Twitter removed said that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would patrol polling sites checking for citizenship, a clear attempt to discourage immigrants who can vote from showing up. ICE eventually clarified on Twitter that it did not patrol polling places.
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