Brands across the board have been doing their part to encourage both employees and shoppers to vote in this year’s election. From giving staff Election Day off to volunteer at the polls to creating merch for their favored candidate, fashion is weighing in like never before.
Now, in a bid to empower the nation’s young people to cast their ballots, Foot Locker has announced a partnership with Rock the Vote that will transform more than 2,000 of the company’s stores—along with Champs Sports and Footaction retail locations—into voter registration hubs.
According to a statement from the company, Foot Locker is looking to leverage its distinct relationship with Gen Z shoppers stopping into stores for their sneaker and streetwear fix. Beginning this week in alignment with National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 22, consumers visiting any of the brand family’s stores will be able to access a one-click digital hub for voter registration, registration status checks, voter education materials, and more. They can also set reminders to vote.
According to Rock the Vote statistics, just more than 46 percent of 18-26-year-olds voted in the 2016 election. Young people have historically voted at significantly lower rates than older generations, the group said, and the face-off between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was decided by just 80,000 ballots four years ago.
“The potential impact of these young voters has never been more significant,” Foot Locker said, “especially considering more than four million young people will be eligible to vote for the first time this November.”
Toms, which has solidified a reputation for championing social impact, will also honor Tuesday’s voter holiday through a partnership with Vote.org. In a statement Monday, footwear brand said the effort will include a social media push to encourage young voters to take to the polls this November.
Alongside Vote.org, Toms has mobilized influential young activists like Brea Baker and actor Landon Moss to create messaging around the effort using the hashtag #VoteReady.
Toms has launched a suite of easy-to-use voter registration tools on its e-commerce site, allowing shoe shoppers to check their registration status, request absentee ballots, view state-by-state mail-in deadlines, and sign up for reminders about the upcoming election.
“This collaboration to reach potential voters is a natural fit as the realities of public health, racial injustice, and economic disparity facing the United States are center stage moving into November,” the company said in a statement, adding that these topics are also central to conversations it is having with its charitable partners and the communities it hopes to impact.
Toms is “committed to building a better tomorrow, which is why we are proud to be partnering with Vote.org this election season,” chief strategy and impact officer Amy Smith told Sourcing Journal. “Our aim is to remind everyone, no matter who you are or where you live that your vote is powerful and important. So whatever it is your care most about, we want to make sure you have the resources needed to make your voice heard on Election Day.”
On Thursday, environmental champion Patagonia unveiled a suite of efforts it will be making to ensure that its shoppers and employees have the time and resources they need to engage with the electoral process.
The company will shutter its stores, offices and distribution centers on Election Day as it did in 2016 and 2018 during the presidential and midterm elections, Patagonia said in a statement. And for the first time, it will offer store employees up to four days off if they volunteer as poll workers during a nationwide shortage through a partnership with Time to Vote.
While employees are on the clock, fulfilling their normal shifts at Patagonia stores, they can also craft handwritten letters or text low-propensity voters to encourage them to participate in the election.
Data collected by the Environmental Voter Project revealed that at least 10 million self-proclaimed environmentalists did not vote in the 2016 elections, Patagonia said.
A recent study by Washington, D.C. think tank The Brookings Institution, which ranked states by preparedness for voting by mail, found that seven states where Patagonia has retail locations received C or D grades. In order to help provide assurance to voters in those locales that their ballots will be received and counted, Patagonia’s stores are working with local voters’ rights organizations to share minute-to-minute, localized resources on policies and procedures.
Patagonia is also working to help address the poll worker shortage by collaborating with Power the Polls, More Than a Vote and the Georgia Youth Poll Worker Project in an effort to identify local election needs.
While she believes this year’s election has already been marred by misinformation, roadblocks and threats to essential voting services, Patagonia general counsel Hilary Dessouky believes the outdoor specialist is doing its part to ensure that “this November’s elections are accessible for all eligible voters.”
“Patagonia is prioritizing time off to vote, and we encourage others to vote, serve as poll workers and share localized information to help make sure all voices are heard this November,” she said.
Under Armour has also committed to helping its more than 10,000 employees– and their communities– cast their ballots.
Through a newly founded program called Run to Vote, CEO Patrik Frisk hopes to see Americans across the country, and particularly in the brand’s home of Baltimore, Md., get out and vote this year.
The city boasts one of the lowest voter turnout rates of any U.S. metropolitan area, Under Armour said, but the company is hoping to make a dent in those numbers by empowering its employees. Each will receive three hours of paid time off on Election Day to vote in person or by mail. The brand has also launched a microsite in collaboration with Vote.org in order to provide them with information about their voter registration status, requesting absentee ballots and more.
Under Armour has also partnered with community groups like Black Girls Vote and Baltimore Votes to raise awareness about the importance of participation in the political process, and will launch a running challenge in October with MapMyRun. Participants will run 11.3 miles as a tribute to the date of this year’s Election Day.
Saks Fifth Avenue has similar plans for its stores, employees and consumers at large, announcing plans Tuesday to make Election Day a paid holiday for all corporate staff and to coordinate scheduling with store and warehouse workers to ensure they’re able to cast their ballots in person if they so choose.
“As an iconic brand, Saks has a responsibility to use our voice to champion issues that matter to society,” said Emily Essner, chief marketing officer for Saks Fifth Avenue, which is partnering with nonpartisan groups HeadCount and Vote.org to encourage voting in the November presidential election. “While we have a long-standing history of platforming a number of meaningful causes, using our influence to drive home the importance of voting and encouraging our community to take action is a first. We are pleased to be a part of a movement that inspires Americans to get involved and make their voices heard.”