Several New Hampshire CEOs have joined a group of corporate and nonprofit leaders in a pledge to get more of their employees to vote.
The initiative, called a Day for Democracy, was started by Peter Palandjian, chairman and CEO of Boston’s Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation. The list of companies whose leaders have have taken the Day for Democracy pledge to help employees vote is heavy with eastern Massachusetts companies, like Bain Capital and Suffolk Construction. The Boston Celtics and Boston Red Sox organizations are on the list too.
McLane Middleton was the first New Hampshire company to sign on, said Cathleen Schmidt, executive director and CEO of the law firm.
“By signing on and taking this pledge, it’s really a show of leadership that we want everyone who is eligible to take the time to vote,” Schmidt said.
“It’s my job to make sure my colleagues have all the time and resources they need to execute that important right,” Schmidt said. She said the COVID-19 pandemic made it more important for workers to understand the options they have to vote this year, like requesting absentee ballots.
“Because of the pandemic, we wanted to make certain we gave the time and the resources to our colleagues to make sure they made a plan, to make sure they’re going to vote,” Schmidt said.
Southern New Hampshire University followed McLane Middleton, along with New Hampshire Public Radio, the Greater Manchester Chamber, Merchants Fleet, the Squam Lakes Conservation Society and several other companies and nonprofits. The participating New Hampshire companies together employ about 10,000 people, according to a news release from the Day for Democracy.
“As an institution of higher education and one of the largest employers in the state, it was important to sign on to this effort and support civic engagement in our community,” Southern New Hampshire University President Paul LeBlanc said in a statement.
He said the university was pushing voter registration information to employees, and allowing employees to work flexible hours on Election Day.
“We believe our country is stronger, and our democracy is better, when everyone has a voice,” LeBlanc said.
The Day for Democracy does not advocate voting for any particular candidate or party. Leaders of organizations pledge to do what they can to increase voter participation.
For McLane Middleton, Schmidt said, that meant posting a link to the absentee ballot request form on the Secretary of State’s website, and a list of polling places on the company intranet.
She said McLane Middleton also grants employees time off to volunteer at the polls. Schmidt said she wanted to support that involvement in the community.