In an effort to encourage employees and customers to go out and vote in the upcoming presidential election, Patagonia will be closing its California headquarters, distribution center as well as all of its retail stores on November 3.
The retailer plans to offer up to four days of paid time off for employees who choose to volunteer as poll workers and will be providing access to photocopy machines at its stores in areas where copies of photo ID are required to proceed with a mail-in ballot (particularly Dallas and Austin stores).
Additionally, the outdoor gear retailer has partnered up with organizations such as Power the Polls, More Than a Vote and the Georgia Youth Poll Worker Project to address local election needs, according to a company press release.
Aside from motivating its customers and workers to go out and vote, the retailer is also setting money aside to sponsor grants, paid advertisements, which it hopes will drive engagement in minority communities. This includes organizations that work primarily with Black, Indigenous and communities of color where voter suppression is exceptionally high.
“Patagonia is doing our part to ensure this November’s elections are accessible for all eligible voters,” said Hilary Dessouky, Patagonia’s general counsel. “Already this election has been marred by misinformation about voting, roadblocks to accessible voting and threats to cut essential voting services like the U.S. Postal Service, which allow people to vote safely and securely. 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.”
This move to make democracy more accessible to the public is not out of character for Patagonia as the company is known for its political activism and stances regarding protecting nature. In June, the retailer was one of the three to announce that it would be boycotting Facebook and its affiliated platform Instagram in an effort to hold Facebook accountable for not doing enough to prevent the spread of hate speech.