For the past few weeks through Tuesday, November 8th, people are voting for local and national officials whom they believe will represent their best interests. Some of the issues voters care most about impact them personally, other issues impact them professionally. Encouraging employees to vote is another way to demonstrate caring for each person and not just how they contribute to the workplace. Furthermore, it is important that employers who want to aid sexual assault survivors in their workplace allow greater flexibility that enables everyone to have a chance to vote. How politicians discuss sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse, and what policies are vital to prevent such instances, are proven to have increasing importance to survivors and non-survivors alike.
Survivors’ Agenda recently worked with PerryUndem, a non-partisan public opinion research firm, to conduct polling on the issue of sexual violence. They found that a majority of voters across party affiliations say they’re more likely to vote for a political candidate who is in favor of addressing sexual violence, including sizeable portions of the electorate.
Some issues addressing sexual assault that survivors care about might include:
-Strengthening laws so that people are legally protected from sexual harassment by landlords and neighbors.
-Making sure schools treat survivors of sexual harassment and violence fairly, including working on any inequities based on race, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
-Updating laws and policies around online harassment and violence, including stronger protections against cyberstalking, harassment, and violence speech.
-Increasing access to sexual health and reproductive care, including birth control and emergency contraceptives.
-Making sure all sexual violence survivors have access to abortion care.
Outside of sexual violence, employees may be invested in the political landscape due to how proposed policies, measures, and politicians may impact their communities. There are several ballot measures across the country that impact employee welfare.
Examples of issues across the country include:
-California, Vermont, Kentucky, Montana, and Michigan have ballot measures about reproductive rights access
-In Nevada, there is a question about adding the Equality of Rights Amendment to their state constitution.
-There are dozens of active bills across the country with the intent to alienate trans people from some aspect of public life—whether that is in schools, in public restrooms or even outlaw public drag queen appearances.
-Arizona and Massachusetts have ballot measures that would make navigating our society as an undocumented person a little bit easier including obtaining a driver’s license which is critical for securing work and housing.
RALIANCE believes establishing safe workplaces and strong communities includes cultivating equitable civic engagement – it can help employees to feel heard and advocate for themselves. As an employer, it’s also helpful to encourage and enable voting with strategies such as paid time off, changing operating hours, hosting an office breakfast or lunch to celebrate election day or other incentives.
We also highly encourage employers to share resources so that everyone can conduct their own independent research:
– The UVA Center for Politics has a broader list of ballot measure categories and upcoming issues
– Ballotpedia is a great resource for to learn more about what is on each ballot around the country
-The USAGov website can point anyone to state and local elections to learn about their representatives
Elections are a great time for employers to consider the multitude of ways they can best support their employees. With so much at stake, we hope you’ll take the time to get out the vote and support your colleagues doing the same!
RALIANCE is a trusted adviser for organizations committed to building cultures that are safe, equitable, and respectful. RALIANCE offers unparalleled expertise in serving survivors of sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse which drives our mission to help organizations across sectors create inclusive environments for all. For more information, please visit www.RALIANCE.org.