Why 7 Chicago tech companies are offering time off to vote

Written by Andreas Rekdal
Published on Oct. 17, 2016
Why 7 Chicago tech companies are offering time off to vote

With Election Day only a few short weeks away, civic-minded Chicagoans are sorting out where their polling places are and figuring out whom to vote for in down ballot races. But some of the city's tech companies are also preparing for the election by encouraging their employees to take time off to vote. 

The Take Off Election Day campaign, which recognizes employers for giving time off to workers exercising their civic duty, counts a number of Chicago tech companies among its supporters. We reached out to them to hear more about why they make voting a priority.


"At Sprout, our hope is that our employees will take the time to vote — it’s important, and we want to remove any obstacles to their ability to do so,” said Director of Talent Jim Conti. “While election day isn’t a company holiday, we trust our team members to manage their time, and we don’t want work to be a limiting factor in anyone’s ability to vote."


"Voting is so important, and as a B Corporation, community service and participation is a priority,” said Emily Lonigro Boylan, president of LimeRed Studio. “A voting leave policy has been part of our employee handbook for years. All of our employees can take time off to go vote — that’s a no-brainer. I wish Election Day was a national holiday!”


"When you're a founder of a growing startup, you never truly have a day off,” said co-founder and CEO Cory Hohs. “However, we here at HAAS Alert feel that it's simply the right decision to give employees the day off to perform civic duties. And not just because this election has so much at stake for our nation and the world, but always. It's a chance to reflect on what it means to be able to vote, and take a little personal time as well…. We're a small team now but even when we grow to a hundred employees, it's a policy that will surely remain intact."


“Everyone needs their voice to be heard,” said president Robert Jacobi. “Nothing is more important than an individual's vote which is an opportunity for your voice to be heard.”

To him, giving employees time off to vote is a natural extension of Arc’s philosophy of giving the entire team a say in decisions that will ultimately affect the whole company.


“We felt the minimum we should do this year is to make it easy for our employees to go vote,” said Dan Golden, president and chief search analyst at Be Found Online. “But, we already have a very engaged team and offer flexible schedules, so we wanted to make a bigger impact by closing our office and encouraging our clients and partners to do the same. This election cycle is a great opportunity to get more companies started with offering paid VTO (Volunteer and Voter Time Off).”


"It's very easy to find excuses not to make it to the polls on Election Day, and therefore we want to make it as convenient as possible for every Belly employee to get to their polling place," said Dan Gloede, chief operating officer at Belly. "Work is important but so is exercising our rights as US citizens." 


As a company with the sole purpose of providing election information, BallotReady will be voting early together instead of taking the day off. "Election day should be a holiday," said CEO Alex Niemczewski. "For our democracy to work, and for our communities to flourish, it needs to be easy for everyone to use their power to vote. Companies who sign on to Take Off Election Day are showing that they support the communities they live in, and setting the example for true civic duty."


Images via listed companies.

Do you offer your employees time off to vote? Send us an email or tweet us @BuiltInChicago

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