How Austin tech companies are rallying their teams to vote this Election Day

October 24, 2016

In Texas, employees have the right to take election day off if they do not have at least two consecutive hours before or immediately after the work day to vote. 

Instead of waiting for employees to request the day off, however, a group of Austin tech companies have proactively made it a priority to help their employees take time off to get to the polls on Tuesday, November 8.

We caught up with Austin TechVotes — and several of organizations who joined their initiative this year — to talk about what they're doing to encourage people to vote. 

“TechVotes has enlisted over 25 companies to join us in maximizing voter participation within the technology industry. Each of these companies has pledged to give employees the time off they need to go vote," said Carla Cook, public communications of TechVotes. "In addition, TechVotes is working with several organizations to organize rides to the polls, including RideAustin, CapMetro, and Yellow Cab. We'll be publishing info on rides to the polls on our site soon!"


"At Square Root, we're giving our team Election Day off as a holiday and paying for their transportation to and from the voting polls," said Courtney Branson, Square Root's happiness captain. "One of our core values is Thrive; for us, that's all about helping the individuals that make up Square Root be individuals! This Election Day in homage to that value, we're making it as easy as possible for the folks that want to vote go make their voices heard."




" thinks it is important for every American citizen to contribute their vote to this important election, and wants to make it as easy as possible for our employees to do so," said Matt Laessig, co-founder and COO. "Democracy and freedom are neither easy nor free, and many Americans in this and past generations have fought and struggled to give us the honor of having a voice in our governance. We need to exercise it!" 



"We have employees in 10 states and in the District of Columbia. In a few days, we'll send an email to everyone at Zenoss that includes links to local non-partisan, online voter information resources," said Talent Acquisition Manager Nada Lulic. "In our Austin headquarters, we brought a volunteer deputy voter registrar onsite to make it easy for our employees to register to vote, and we'll send out additional information to Austin only on Monday, the first day of early voting in Texas."



"We decided to support voting on Election Day because we feel it is an important aspect of being a member of our community — and if there is a critique of tech in cities all around the world, it is the tendency to not be engaged in the community, and to work through important civic events like voting in elections," said Scott Francis, CEO of BP3. "This isn’t just about a presidential election, but local and state elections that are much more likely to have an immediate impact on our culture and business context in Austin. Tech doesn’t have a monolithic view of the issues, but it is important that we engage and make an impact on our communities as well as on software and tech! "




“MI7 is committed to the election process, and as such we have provided our employees with time off on Election Day to help them cast their vote. No matter who they vote for, their vote counts, and we support them in their efforts to do so," said Randall Baker, President and COO of MI7




"We at Abilitie believe that every citizen should have the ability to exercise their right to vote and hope that as an employer we can help ensure that all eligible voters are able to do so," said Bjorn Billhardt, CEO of Abilitie.




“We recognize the importance of voting and making individual voices heard, and that is why we have opted to recognize Election Day as a company-wide holiday," said Alex Crosby, founder and CEO of HERO. "It is important to us that our employees have the opportunity to take part in the democratic process.” 



"Here at Silicon Labs, we know that making a difference in our connected world is really important. Our right to vote allows our voices to be heard on everything from the leadership of our country to issues right here in Austin. No matter where they stand on issues, we support our employees and all other voters as they make their way to the polls," said Lori Knowlton, Chief People Officer of Silicon Labs.

Silicon Labs is offering free, short-term parking at both of their garages near City Hall on November 8.
To further encourage voter engagement, Silicon Labs is hosting a TechVotes happy hour. The event is scheduled from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on November 3 at Silicon Labs’ 400 W. Cesar Chavez building. Just bring your ‘I Voted’ sticker and come celebrate democracy.
"Austin Tech Alliance (ATA), founded by Capital Factory's Joshua Baer and BuildASign's Dan Graham, is focused on educating, engaging and activating the 100,000-plus grassroots of Austin’s tech sector, and our goal is to keep Austin a tech-forward, tech-friendly city that attracts the most innovative people in the world," said David Edmonson, Executive Director of Austin Tech Alliance. 
"Joshua and the entire Capital Factory team understand the importance of Austin's tech sector being civically engaged members of the Austin community," Edmonson added. "In fact, two Capital Factory employees are deputy voter registrars, allowing them to register fellow employees and Capital Factory members. This is in an effort to make it as easy as possible for employees and members alike to have their voice heard at the ballot box this fall and beyond." 
Click here to see all the Austin companies participating in Austin TechVotes.


Images provided by companies/social media. Some responses have been edited for length/clarity.

Know a great company we should cover? Send us a tip or tweet us @BuiltInAustin

Jobs from companies in this blog1 open jobs
All Jobs
Square Root

Austin startup guides

Best Companies to Work for in Austin
Coolest Tech Offices in Austin
Best Perks at Austin Tech Companies
Women in Austin Tech