Making sure that all voices are heard at the ballot box on Election Day is part of a collective commitment to a healthy democracy. For the Charitable Foundation, this commitment means that we hope to support a range of charitable, nonpartisan election work — including voter education and outreach, as well as guidance for the volunteer poll workers and election officials whose efforts are crucial to ensuring that elections operate safely, fairly, and smoothly for all.
This commitment also means that we are proud to encourage all of our staff members to vote — by allowing every Foundation employee up to two hours of paid work time on Election Day to go to the polls.
We were thus heartened to see that there is a national, nonpartisan effort to ensure that nonprofits around the country show similar leadership when it comes to offering workers time off to vote. Called Nonprofit Staff Vote, the campaign seeks to remove barriers for potential voters by asking nonprofit organizations to commit to offering paid time off for all employees to get to the polls. The Foundation joined the campaign in August.
Unlike in many other states, New Hampshire does not have any law requiring employers to offer time off to vote, whether paid or unpaid. That makes employer action so much more important. We encourage all of New Hampshire’s nonprofit organizations, to the extent the nature of their work allows, to join the campaign — adopting a time-off policy for Election Day, and making sure all staff are aware of the opportunity.
An inclusive democracy calls for all of us to engage. Nonprofits employ one in seven workers in New Hampshire. We can collectively make a real difference toward a more participatory democracy by encouraging and empowering voter participation among nonprofit employees.