September 10, 2020

Civil Civic Engagement

It’s that time of year—the final sprint to Election Day. In 54 days, Americans across the country will vote. Although amid the pandemic, it’s highly likely that a large number of voters will have already cast their ballots by mail by the time the calendar flips to November 3, 2020.

Traditionally, the majority of voters don’t begin tuning-in to political campaigns until after Labor Day. As the public’s focus turns to the election, we encourage you to consider these best practices to promote civil civic engagement.

Encourage employees to vote

If you’re back to work in an office setting, consider setting up a voter information station in a common area, like a break room or lobby. To better support your company’s social distancing guidelines or to provide similar information to a workforce still working from home, an informational staff email or internal webpage with helpful voting tools may be more logical.

Some things to consider including:

  • Links to your state’s Secretary of State’s website, where critical voting information is usually located.
  • A link to your state’s mail-in voter registration form. has a great site that links to this form for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Deadlines and rules for requesting an absentee ballot. The Wall Street Journal recently published a helpful matrix of state-specific deadlines relative to voting by mail.

If your company offers employees flexibility on Election Day to allow them to vote, make sure to communicate that well in advance so your team can plan accordingly.

Regardless of your personal belief, remain nonpartisan

As you read this email, you’re only a few clicks away from an app or website that allows you to express your political views to the world. Resist the temptation.

You and your colleagues are the ambassadors of your organization and your brand. What you may think is a harmless or comical statement, may be received as upsetting, insensitive or offensive to your peers.

In business meetings, at forums, on social media or in virtual happy hours, stick to substance and leave the one-liners to the cable tv pundits.

Engage in the process

Many local organizations – like trade associations or chambers of commerce – hold candidate forums for their members to attend. Being nonpartisan doesn’t mean you can’t attend and ask thoughtful questions. If your business is impacted by certain policies, share that, along with an example of what that means for your employees, the community and the future of your company and industry.

Candidates and elected officials appreciate perspective from local leaders who experience firsthand the impact of policies that are developed and passed in Washington, state capitols or city halls. Should the forum take on a virtual format, feel free to utilize this Cornerstone-developed best practices plan for virtual advocacy.

Additionally, by conversing with candidates and building a rapport, your company is more likely to come to mind as future policy is being considered.

-The Cornerstone Public Affairs Team