Companies shouldn't be afraid to get involved in the election process: Democracy Works VP

To help get out the vote in 2020, Democracy Works – a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to increasing voter turnout – is partnering with Yahoo Finance’s parent company Verizon Media ahead of the 2020 election to help register eligible Americans to vote. Mike Ward, the organization’s vice president of voter engagement, joined The Final Round on National Voter Registration Day to discuss the importance of voting and why companies shouldn’t be afraid to get involved in the election process.

“It’s not just about registering voters, it’s about strengthening our democracy,” Ward said.

“The overall arc is really simple: We want to increase voter turnout as high as possible,” says Ward. “Our moonshot goal is 80% voter turnout, and the way to do that is to make sure people are voting in every election they’re eligible to vote in. Voting is habitual. If you do it two, three times in a row, all of a sudden you do it every time – you feel like it’s something that is who you are, and how you go about our life.”

The 2018 elections saw a huge spike in turnout for midterms, and Ward hopes that trend will continue. “Voter turnout in 2018 was the highest it’s been in over a 100 years,” he said. “The last time voter turnout for a midterm election was that high was in 1914 — which was before the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote. We expect to see, in 2020, voter turnout again ... at record levels. There’s a lot of excitement.”

‘Voting isn’t political. Voting is American’

Ward noted that many companies are leery of getting involved in politics but stressed that voting isn’t inherently a political act.

“I think there’s a lot of reluctance around doing anything political, which makes a ton of sense [for companies],” explains Ward. “But voting isn’t political. Voting is American. What companies are seeing from consumers is that they want companies to get involved in civics. Companies can become really good messengers — with their consumers and with their employees — to help them register to vote and turn out to the polls in a totally nonpartisan way.”

Olivia Balsamo is a writer and producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @BalsamoOlivia.

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