As this election year heats up, it’s more important than ever for every citizen to use their vote and make their voice heard. But so many things—like confusing processes, or lack of time and information—can keep them from getting to the polls.
To help remove some of those obstacles, Target has signed on with Democracy Works, Inc. as a founding partner of its new initiative, the TurboVote Challenge. The goal? To achieve 80% voter turnout in the U.S. by the year 2020. Target joins Starbucks and 11 other innovative and influential businesses across the country in a non-partisan effort to create a more representative and inclusive democracy by encouraging more people to become registered voters. As part of the initiative, the partners will plan a series of tactics to help raise awareness and provide easy-to-use resources for their employees and customers.
We sat down with Matt Zabel, Target’s vice president of government affairs, to hear more about the role Target will play.
As the Target team gets ready to take part in the TurboVote Challenge, what are you most excited about?
TurboVote is a great resource that makes it easier for people to get through the voter registration process, to know when elections are coming up, and to actually make it out to the polls. I’m excited for our team members to dive in and check out some of the features. TurboVote helps keep track of the elections happening in your community and sends you notifications with information about what's on the ballot, what your voting options are, where your polling place is, and other helpful updates.
The TurboVote Challenge is a non-partisan project, right?
Definitely. It’s not in any way about telling people what to think or how to vote—that’s for every individual to decide. This initiative is about making the whole process easier; putting the information and resources people need at their fingertips so they can go out and exercise their constitutional right to vote.
You’ve worked in politics for a long time. Why is this work important to you, personally?
This election year is shaping up to be … let’s say historic. Voter interest and passion are up, and the issues at stake are critically important. I’ve always been struck by the simple, basic equality of the voting process—one person, one vote. Regardless of income or station in life, everyone’s vote counts the same. We sometimes joke that you can’t complain about the results if you don’t participate in the process, but it’s true—we all can play a role in shaping the outcomes, so why sit on the sidelines and let someone else make the choice for you?
Many of Target’s team members and guests are already deeply involved in civic activity. What are some of the ways they’re encouraging conversation and action in their communities?
As a company, we want to be an active citizen and valued neighbor in each of the nearly 1,800 communities where we do business. Our team members work with local nonprofit organizations, civic and community organizations. We support them in their work and help them stay informed through our Citizens@Target site. And Target’s Citizens Council at our headquarters hosts regular events where more than 1,000 team members can join in conversations about issues they care about. We’ve brought in elected officials and experts as speakers, hosted bipartisan candidate town halls and led informational sessions about how to caucus or serve as an election judge.
I’m really proud of the work our team members already do, and I can’t wait to see them get out there and encourage others to get involved too!
Check out more of the ways Target team members are sharing their voices through civic activity in their communities.
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