The Weird Companies and Odd Practice of Corporate Get out the Vote Pressure

(Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard via AP)

If you only voted when commanded to do so by Crocs, maybe staying home is the better choice.

It may seem curious that we are seeing so many companies lecturing us, in notably oppressive fashion, to get out and vote. After all, we have been told for years that the Supreme Court erred when it declared corporate donations to be regarded as a freedom of expression, but now it appears as if every single business is in on the election gambit this year.

Seriously, when you cannot flip on a TV or listen to music without being inundated by companies guilting you into the voting booth you begin to question the wisdom behind the Citizens United decision reached by SCOTUS.

The truth is that it has been looked into and studies show that these voter initiatives rarely manage to turn out more participating citizens. Yet, as we have seen this year, more companies are getting in on the insistence that you drop the taco and go cast your choice for candidates. This would indicate that there is not a desire to see the public engaged in governmental participation as much as they want to engage customers with the appearance of caring for the sake of better sales.

So, it is a cynical approach for a business to want to do more business. No surprise. But this does lead to a number of rather odd instances of corporate participation.

To start, how about we head over to Chipotle Mexican Grill. You might not think that fast food is the place to find political activism, and you’d be right. The company has taken this election so seriously they have rechristened their social media accounts as ‘’Chi-Vote-Le’’. Like we said, seriously. The eatery was offering shirts with a pepper-shaped QR code on the sleeves that takes you to Turbovote.org, where unregistered quaffers could become eligible to vote between nacho dipping. 

The gif platform Giphy has opened up a channel that allowed users to create animated graphics for social media to badger people into going to the polls. One thing we can all say is that one thing lacking in social media is the insistence that users register for the election. (eyeroll gif)

via GIPHY

via GIPHY

La Colombe coffee roasters has what they call Fuel The Vote. With this program, the company offers some blends, and a mug you can purchase, with a portion of the sale price being set aside for Vote.org. The company CEO Todd Carmichael offered up some of his wisdom for his customers. “At La Colombe, we aspire to influence the world for the better, through every action we take because we know that it only gets better when we use our collective voice.’’

Key word there was ‘’collective’’. In an interview back in 2018 Carmichael declared, “My employees know I’m a F-ing Commie.” I’m going to call him a questionable source from whom to take voting advice.

There is no firm way to measure the most esoteric outlet to compel voting, but Crocs Footwear has to be in the top-10. The company’s web page is plastered with ‘’Croc The Vote’’ graphics, and a link to Vote.org. They also promoted their stars-and-stripes shoes, as well as offering a Jibbetz shoe charm that says VOTE.  Just consider — there could be people out there who may have had no intention of casting a ballot until they were provoked to do so while shopping for Styrofoam shoes. 

Now, depending on your perspective, these could be either some of the worst companies to affiliate with voter activity, or the most appropriate. I know I will side with the latter choice when it comes to electoral elixirs. To aid in ballot comportment Modelo Beer is here to encourage inebriated civic duty. Also with a seemingly appropriate flowchart is Absolut Vodka. This is one of the wiser moves in the corporate-voting landscape; rather than dividing their audience, they are assured that at least half of the voting public will feel a need to crawl into a bottle after tonight.

Anheuser-Busch has also participated, but in a more civic-duty fashion. The brewer is donating supplies of hand sanitizer to polling stations on election day, and this seems a wise move. After all, maybe the King of Beers is better off refraining from the democratic process, given the way our country was founded on shrugging off monarchical oppression.