Rock the Vote chief: Companies have 'huge role to play' in encouraging young people to vote

Rock the Vote President Carolyn Dewitt says that companies have crucial role to play when it comes to promoting democracy and encouraging young people to vote.

“A strong democracy needs a culture that promotes and celebrates democracy,” Dewitt told Hill.TV in an interview that aired on Wednesday.

“Brands and companies have a huge role to play — both for their employees and for their customers,” she added.

Dewitt argued that customers and employees alike are increasingly expecting firms to take a stance on issues such as voting rights.

“Young people particularly young employees want to be engaged and want to their companies to step up and create those opportunities for them,” she told Hill.TV.

Dewitt joined “Rising” to discuss Rock the Vote’s latest “Brands for Democracy” initiative. The nonpartisan effort aims to bring companies together to create a culture of civic engagement through voter registration.

In 2016, she said the group partnered with several companies to help register 140,000 voters.

About half a dozen firms, including HBO and Hulu, have joined the 2020 initiative so far.

Young voters could play a defining role in the 2020 elections, even though they have typically turned out at lower rates than other demographic groups in elections. 

Among 18- to 29-year-olds, voter turnout jumped from 20 percent in 2014 to 36 percent in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This marked the largest percentage point increase for any age group.

—Tess Bonn