REI Co-op launches Gear Up to Vote campaign to mobilize civic participation among its employees and members
Resources and storytelling aim to break down barriers and advocate for all outdoor enthusiasts to vote this fall
Sep 14, 2020
With less than two months before state and national elections, REI Co-op is taking action to ensure its employees, members and outdoor community have what they need to be informed and ready to participate in the voting process.
To start, REI is making sure none of its employees have to choose between voting and earning a paycheck this November. The co-op is also encouraging employees (and members) to ensure their voices are heard by voting early, mail-in voting or absentee voting. For employees in states that require in-person voting, REI offers flexible scheduling options as well as the option of using one of their “Co-op Way Days,” paid time off that employees can use to put their values into action, such as community service, advocacy, voting, civil participation, outdoor recreation and stewardship.
The co-op also is helping employees and members better equip themselves to vote with how-to resources at REI.com/Vote. The online platform includes a tool to register to vote, check registration status and request an absentee ballot; state-by-state deadlines; voting guides from partner organizations; perspectives of why REI employees, members and nonprofit partners choose to vote; and how to get involved in the election process. The effort is part of REI’s longstanding commitment to nonpartisan, active community engagement in support of time outdoors and the health of outdoor places.
“Every election is a chance to shape our future, a chance to create the change we want to see in our society. As a co-op, we have the responsibility as an employer, member-centric organization, and purpose-driven company to not only show up and advocate for civic participation, but to equip our employees and others in the best way we can,” said Eric Artz, REI CEO and president. “Today, our nation is facing overlapping crises in public health, the economy, racial equity and climate change. Voting is one of the most important ways we all can spark meaningful change at the local, state and national levels.”
More broadly, the co-op is part of Vote Early Day, a movement of nonprofits, businesses, election administrators and creatives working to ensure all Americans know their options to vote early. Given the serious challenges the COVID-19 crisis is creating for in-person voting, REI also joined Business for America’s Vote Safe 2020 initiative to advocate for safe and secure mail-in voting and safe in-person voting, and is a participant in the Time to Vote coalition, a nonpartisan, business-led initiative to help ensure employees across America don't have to choose between voting and earning a paycheck.
Now through Election Day, the co-op will use its REI.com/vote platform, Co-op Journal, and social media channels to reinforce the importance of being an active participant in Election Day. For those near an REI retail store, pick up a free “Gear Up to Vote” sticker for your bottle, laptop, car box, or whatever wheels get you around town.
REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of more than 19 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 167 locations in 39 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI Outlet or the REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. Adventurers can take the trip of a lifetime with REI’s active adventure travel company, a global leader that runs more than 250 itineraries across all continents. In every community where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.