PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — Some big name tech companies in the Bay Area are offering employees a new perk: a day off to vote. It started with a tweet from San Francisco venture capitalist Hunter Walk.
He asked Silicon Valley CEOs to consider sending out company-wide messages to block off time to vote.
So far, nearly 180 startups and venture capital firms across the country have pledged to do just that. Some of the biggest names in tech that are making November 8th a company holiday are: New York-based Spotify, Survey Monkey in Palo Alto, and San Francisco based Task Rabbit, Square and DoorDash.
The Pew Research Center found that only 54 percent of eligible voters turned out in the 2012 presidential election.
Yuri Sagalov, the CEO of the file sharing and messaging platform Amium said, “The U.S. is probably one of the only developed countries where elections are not held either on a holiday or a day off like a Saturday or Sunday, and to me that’s always been very strange.”
Sagalov’s 30 employees will get the day off. He says a lot’s at stake for Silicon Valley workers.
Sagalov said, “As a tech employer I want to attract people to the Bay Area, but for me to be able to attract people to the Bay Area the first thing is they need to be able to immigrate here if they need to and the second one is they need to be able to afford to live here.”
Though California is widely expected to go toward Hillary Clinton this November, KPIX 5 political analyst Melissa Caen said casting a ballot still matters, with voters deciding on a host of issues beyond choosing a president.
“It’s easy to say Hillary Clinton’s going to win California so who cares, but the truth is this ballot is really important for a number of reasons, we’ve got 17 statewide initiatives on this ballot, things like gun control, billions of dollars in bonds, legalization of marijuana and the death penalty,” Caen said.
Marina Kipnis, resident of Fremont said, “The last thing I think about is voting when I have to get a lot of work done. Then I have to pick up my daughter so yeah, I would definitely vote if I had some extra time.”