To encourage and celebrate voter turnout, Johnnie Walker, a brand of Norwalk, Conn.-based Diageo North America, is partnering with nonprofit organization ElectionDay.org, a Vote.org initiative, to support its 'Election Day Holiday' campaign.
The campaign urges companies to offer employees paid time off, ranging from flexible working schedules to a full paid holiday, in order to get to the polls on Nov. 6. This important initiative is a continuation of the Johnnie Walker Keep Walking America campaign launched in 2016, which celebrates cultural diversity in America.
In 2014, 35 percent of the U.S. population noted that scheduling conflicts with work and school prevented them from voting in the midterm elections, the brand says, citing a Nov. 12, 2014, Washington Post article. Voter turnout dipped to one of its lowest points in two decades during the 2016 Presidential Election, it adds, citing a Nov. 30, 2016, CNN article. Making it to the polls on Election Day should not be difficult, but there are often barriers to navigate such as transportation issues or lack of standardized laws mandating employers to allow time off for voting, the company says. Together, Johnnie Walker and Vote.org hope to inspire people to become better informed about voting policies in the workplace, so everyone feels empowered to exercise their powerful, democratic right to vote.
Johnnie Walker’s parent company, Diageo, is committed to giving all of its salaried employees and non-union hourly associates across the country two hours of paid time off to get to the polls Nov. 6. This policy is in place across all U.S. offices and manufacturing sites, making it simpler for Diageo employees to vote, regardless of location, the company says.
Vote.org founder Debra Cleaver explained: "There are so many differing laws about time off for employees on Election Day; it differs state-by-state. This puts the onus on individual citizens to find out if they can leave work to go to the polls. So, when companies like Diageo create consistent policies for their distributed national workforce, it's a big deal. Now, there's one less roadblock for their employees in different states and locations to consider when they make their plans to go vote. Diageo, with Johnnie Walker, is setting a strong example to help ensure that all Americans can exercise and celebrate their right to vote."
To support the brand's election program, Johnnie Walker is bringing back its Keep Walking America TV spot featuring a reimagined version of the iconic American folk song "This Land Is Your Land" by Los Angeles soul band Chicano Batman. Created by Anomaly New York, the spot will air nationally through the upcoming elections, and celebrates a diverse America, reinforcing the brand's mission to inspire progress, the company says.
"It's so important that Diageo employees know we celebrate their right to vote, and we are proud to offer flexible work policies, including two hours of paid time off, to vote in local elections,” said Deirdre Mahlan, president of Diageo North America, in a statement. “Moments of progress only happen when you show up and there's no better place to start than at the polls. We hope the Johnnie Walker partnership with Vote.org inspires people to participate in shaping their own future.”
Johnnie Walker joins Vote.org partner Lyft in the company's efforts to provide free and discounted rides to the polls Nov. 6. Together with Lyft, Johnnie Walker will help voters exercise their fundamental rights and celebrate doing so safely, it says. More information on this safe ride promotion will be announced soon via Lyft and Johnnie Walker social channels.
Johnnie Walker also is joining the Civic Nation hashtag #VoteTogether campaign, aimed to increase voter participation by making voting fun and celebratory. As an official partner, Johnnie Walker will host a handful of nonpartisan hashtag #VoteTogether events in select cities across the nation where attendees will receive a Lyft code to help them celebrate responsibly. More information about this programming and the locations will be unveiled in the coming month.