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Joel Elliott, Senior Director, Policy

Why is a healthy democracy important to achieving your company’s purpose?

Salesforce believes that an individual’s right to cast a ballot in an election is fundamental to a functioning democracy. We believe that it is stronger when more eligible people participate. And in the US - that means that every eligible person must have equal access to the ballot box. We also believe that our democracy works when elections are secure and trustworthy, when they are fair, and when they are free. Expanding our work in this area, in 2020 Salesforce developed principles around civic engagement and the protection of voting rights. Through our Racial Equality and Justice Task Force we are committed to finding ways to create systemic change for the communities in which we live and work including creating a nonpartisan policy platform to guide our engagement at every level of government.

Why are voting rights important to your business?

A healthy, functioning electoral system and democracy are not separate from the strength of our economy. Unfortunately, the ability for many, but especially people of color, to safely access and exercise their right to vote is at risk. If the stability of our democracy is threatened, there are real consequences for American businesses. A 2021 Fitch Ratings report found that recent state voter-suppression efforts, and a lack of bipartisanship and difficulty passing laws in Congress, could downgrade our nation’s credit rating and impact how we refinance debt. As our co-CEO Marc Benioff has stated, profit and purpose go hand-in-hand, and every business can be a platform for change.

How do you encourage your employees to become more civically engaged?

Employee civic engagement has long been a priority for Salesforce, but we knew employees were looking for even more tools and educational opportunities. Over the last two years, we expanded our Government Affairs Speaker Series to include voting-related topics and ensured our communications reminded employees of opportunities to get involved with election administration and important deadlines.

What are your company’s other projects to help support voters, protect elections, and overcome political divides?

Salesforce acknowledges the shortage of poll workers, and to help with this issue, we provide employees the ability to work as nonpartisan poll workers on Election Day, and count it towards Volunteer Time Off (VTO). We also declared all national federal elections as paid holidays for our employees, so that no employee will have to choose between working and voting on or before Election Day.

Why did you decide to become a member of Business for America?

Salesforce joined Business for America because we believe that the business community has a responsibility to use our influence to drive positive change and improve our country’s civic health. We look forward to working alongside Business for America and business leaders to secure the long-term health of our democracy.

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