Steve Madden really wants to get out the vote.
The designer has been partnering with the Voto Latino advocacy organization this year to help register young voters. And now he’s shared with FN that all his corporate U.S. offices will be closed on Election Day, to give his employees the chance to head to the polls.
“There is a lot happening in the world right now and it is important that we empower everyone — especially the younger generations — to take a stance, let their voices be heard and allow them to shape their futures by voting,” he said.
Madden noted that his company began working with Voto Latino in the 2018 midterm elections, and “since then the connection has blossomed into a great partnership.” The designer spoke at the nonprofit’s 2019 summit, and in January the two teams launched a campaign to register voters in the Steve Madden retail stores.
“Unfortunately due to the pandemic, things got cut short,” Madden said, “but in the months ahead, we will be shifting gears and focusing on digital efforts across all Steve Madden and Voto Latino channels through November. Safety at the polls and voter education will be a big part of that messaging, in addition to voter registration and how to vote by mail.”
The designer added that his commitment to this cause is personal: “As a convicted felon whose voting rights were taken away during my time of incarceration, I recognize the importance of exercising the right to vote.”
Madden’s company joins a growing list of footwear brands engaging in “get out the vote” initiatives.
Last week, Birkenstock announced it would give its roughly 200 U.S.-based workers a paid holiday to vote on Nov. 3. And hundreds of companies — including Walmart, Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods and REI — have signed the Time to Vote corporate pledge, promising to give their workers an opportunity to cast their ballots in the 2020 presidential election.
Meanwhile, the shoe industry has launched its own initiative: Early this month, the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America debuted ShoeVoter.com, a non-partisan online center that provides voting information to shoe professionals. The website offers executives and other members of the footwear sector access to voting-related materials, including their state’s registration rules and deadlines, absentee ballot guidelines, voting locations and requirements, a list of candidates in their district and the latest in COVID-19-related information.