You may be wondering: Why is Patagonia so concerned about voting? The short answer is that our company is in business to save the planet. The right to vote is the foundation for progress on everything we care about.
Since 2016, Patagonia has closed its doors on Election Day to encourage employees and customers to head to the polls. Other companies can join us at Time to Vote, a nonpartisan business-led movement that Patagonia co-founded with Levi Strauss and Co. and PayPal to ensure no American has to choose between earning a paycheck and voting.
More businesses should offer employees incentives to go beyond voting and serve in their communities. They can follow the example of companies like Old Navy, Target and Warby Parker, which paid employees for time off to vote and work at the polls in 2020. Or the NBA, which recently announced teams won’t play on Election Day — a move aimed to encourage civic engagement and prompt fans, players and staff to vote.
We have seen what happened when Georgia’s voter roll grew by nearly 2 million over the past decade, while politicians cut the number of polling locations by nearly 10 percent and added unnecessary restrictions on voting rights. The result is longer lines for voters, more pressure on poll workers and fewer opportunities for Georgians to make their voices heard. If more companies get involved, it will send a message that Georgians are willing to defend our democracy and that intimidating poll workers and suppressing votes won’t fly. Democracy works when we do.
Sloan Richardson is the store manager at Patagonia Atlanta.