EAGAN, Minn., Sept. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross), has announced the addition of Election Day as a company holiday, beginning November 3, 2020. The company says it is making the change to ensure that all Blue Cross associates have every opportunity to vote and participate in the most fundamental form of civic engagement.
Going forward, Blue Cross will have Election Day as a paid company holiday in even-numbered years (2022, 2024, 2026) to coincide with federal (presidential, U.S. Senate, U.S. House) and statewide elections (gubernatorial, state offices, legislative).
"Every eligible voter who wants to participate in the democratic process should be able to do so, whether that is through voting in person or via absentee ballot. We're doing our part to make that happen," said Dr. Craig Samitt, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. "I am proud that Blue Cross has such a rich history of civic engagement among our workforce. Engaged citizens are essential for healthy communities. Making Election Day a paid company holiday on a permanent basis reflects the value that we place on participation and having your voice heard."
Blue Cross will remain open on November 3 with appropriate staffing in place to ensure business continuity and to assist members. Associates in these essential roles will receive holiday pay, per company policy. In addition, Blue Cross managers will provide reasonable scheduling flexibility so associates can use paid time to participate and vote in the election.
Blue Cross is also proud to partner with Civic Alliance on these important election and voting initiatives. Civic Alliance is a nonpartisan coalition of more than 220 companies committed to supporting safe, healthy and trusted elections.
CitizenBlue serves as a trusted source of election-related resources
As a company, Blue Cross has been championing civic engagement for 20 years through CitizenBlue - a nationally recognized nonpartisan program that equips associates with information and resources to be more informed and engaged citizens. CitizenBlue has organized a variety of initiatives to prepare and encourage associates to vote in a dynamic election year. These include updates on vote-from home policies, distributing a nonpartisan voter guide, hosting candidate forums and promoting "get out the vote" social media campaigns. Many events have shifted to virtual platforms while most associates continue to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. CitizenBlue also sends out timely information so associates can check their voter registration, find their polling place, request an absentee ballot and volunteer as election judges in their local communities.
While Minnesota is the nation's leader in voter participation, Blue Cross associates turn out in even larger numbers. In 2018, 88 percent of Blue Cross associates voted in the midterm election, compared with 64 percent of all registered Minnesota voters.
In addition, CitizenBlue has encouraged associates to sign up to work as election judges, if their health and schedule allows. Nationwide, states are facing a shortage of poll workers due to the pandemic – many regular poll workers are older and more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. To date, dozens of Blue Cross associates have signed up to work at the polls on Election Day.
CitizenBlue has been nationally recognized by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard Business Review for its nonpartisan voter engagement efforts and for being "one of the most robust" corporate civic engagement programs in the country.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota's first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. A nonprofit, taxable organization, Blue Cross is the largest health plan based in Minnesota, covering 2.9 million members in Minnesota and nationally through its health plans or plans administered by its affiliated companies. Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® of Minnesota and Blue Plus® are nonprofit independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago.
SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota