Old Navy has announced it will pay its employees to work at the polls in November’s presidential election.
The company said on Tuesday it has partnered with Power the Polls, which describes itself as “a first-of-its-kind initiative to recruit poll workers to ensure a safe, fair election for all voters.”
Old Navy said it will offer its 50,000 employees paid time off to serve as poll workers on Election Day.
The brand, whose parent company is Gap Inc., is also offering employees up to three paid hours off to vote. “Because it’s so important that we all can vote (and that we all do vote!),” Old Navy wrote on Facebook.
We’re partnering with Power the Polls to empower our 50,000 employees with paid time off to serve as poll…
The company noted that poll worker shortages are expected this year. Poll workers typically skew older, which means many of those who usually work at polling sites on Election Day are at higher risk during the coronavirus pandemic and may avoid in-person voting this November.
A shortage of poll workers already impacted primary elections in some states, contributing to hours-long waits at the polls.
“Power the Polls will be a part of the solution by addressing the need for low-risk and diverse poll workers who can staff in-person voting locations during early voting and on Election Day,” the organization says on its site.
Power the Polls says it aims to have 250,000 Americans sign up and that it is focusing on “healthy, low-risk candidates to ensure that those workers most susceptible to the coronavirus are given the space to take care of their health.”
Poll workers will be provided with PPE and training and they will be paid, according to Power the Polls.
ViacomCBS is listed as one of the founding partners of the organization. Other partners include Warby Parker, PayPal, Twitter and many others.
Power the Polls is not the only organization focused on recruiting poll workers. More Than a Vote, a voting rights organization led by LeBron James and other sports athletes, is launching a national campaign to recruit poll workers. Fueled by the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd at the hands of police, the organization has worked to fight systemic, racist voter suppression.
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