At least 100 technology startups and venture capitol companies — many of which are run by signatories of an open letter opposing presidential candidate Donald Trump — have vowed to give employees November 8, 2016 off in an effort to encourage them to vote.
Walk, who along with 145 other high-profile tech execs and investors signed a July 14 open letter to Trump that said the candidate "campaigns on anger, bigotry, fear of new ideas and new people, and a fundamental belief that America is weak and in decline."
"We have listened to Donald Trump over the past year," the letter reads, "and we have concluded: Trump would be a disaster for innovation...We stand against Donald Trump’s divisive candidacy and want a candidate who embraces the ideals that built America’s technology industry."
Some state laws mandate that businesses must offer employees paid time off to participate in elections, with numerious stipulations. None allow the latitude these companies say they'll offer, with as much as the full day allowed for employees to cast their ballots.
By getting his fellow bosses to offer employees the day off, Walk says, he hopes to encourage "the tech industry to be literate as citizens.” And so far, his fellow employers have agreed, with 100 companies (as of publication time) adding themselves to a Google Doc listing companies that have vowed to give employees "as much time as they need" off to vote.
You'll see some company names on both the anti-Trump letter and the day-off list, including Wikipedia and Walk's own Homebrew. Other listed companies, like Thrillist and Flexport, have CEOs that have been vocal regarding their distaste of Trump, with the former's head tweeting in June that "The ones who stand up and stop Trump will be remembered," and the latter's CEO saying that if he's known that company investor Peter Thiel "was going to back Trump, he might not have accepted his funding," Techcrunch reported last month.
According to Walk, business leaders are joining the list either directly through the Google doc or by tweeting their commitment @hunterwalk.
"Given the stark choices," in this year's presidential campaign, Walk told Bloomberg, "people are activating themselves more so than in the past." And based on his and his colleagues' open letter to the Republican candidate, it's clear that many in Silicon Valley are hopeful that on November 8, their staffers will take the day to activate themselves toward Hillary Clinton and away from the Republican candidate.