October 2, 2020
How Businesses Can Support Democracy
by Eric Heis, Ohio Secretary of State
As we approach the November 2020 election, businesses across Ohio are donating PPE, registering their employees to vote or encouraging their employees to make their voice heard on Election Day. But there is another big way Ohio businesses can help make sure this upcoming election is a success – by helping our effort to recruit poll workers.
It’s important to remember that this fall, Ohioans will have the same great options they’ve become used to over the years - voting in-person on election day, early at their county board of elections or by absentee by mail. To make that in-person election run smoothly, Ohio needs more than 55,000 Ohioans to sign up to serve as a poll worker. We need Ohioans to step up and help us defend democracy.
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose is calling it the “Give a Day for Democracy” initiative – and it’s already being embraced by businesses throughout the state to bolster poll worker recruitment. With 65 percent of past Ohio poll workers being age 61 or over, there is a concern that many may choose not to serve this November due to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on older populations. The Secretary has also partnered with licensing boards to give Ohio lawyers, CPAs, realtors and others required continuing education credits if they serve as a poll worker. It’s a real win-win for all involved.
Additionally, businesses must also remember their responsibility to the voter. Stated simply, Ohio’s election law (ORC 3599.06) prohibits any employer from discharging or threatening to discharge an employee for taking a reasonable amount of time to vote on any election day, and from refusing to permit an employee to serve as an election official on any election day.
Remember, all voices need the opportunity to be heard. Together, we can make it happen.