The election is fast approaching, but 58 percent of regular poll workers are over the age of 60, leading to rising concerns over who will fill in for these vulnerable employees during the pandemic. To help with the poll worker shortage, both Old Navy and Tory Burch will offer employees paid leave to work at voting places on election day.
Old Navy announced last Tuesday that it will offer employees eight hours of paid leave to work the polls, even if they were not regularly scheduled that day. The company is working with Civic Alliance and Power the Polls to recruit poll workers nationwide.
American fashion label Tory Burch made a similar announcement last week stating they too would offer employees paid leave to work the polls. In a statement, they said, “Democracy requires participation, and we each need to play a role. We each need to step up and exercise our civic duty. However, employers need to make it possible for us to do so.”
Of Old Navy’s 50,000 field employees, 64 percent are 18 to 29 years old. The company wants this key underrepresented age group not only to get out and exercise their civic duty but also to help others cast their ballot so older poll workers don’t have to risk exposing themself to the virus.
NBC News reports that experts are increasingly worried about a poll worker shortage on November 3rd. These workers facilitate democratic participation by setting up voting locations and explaining voting procedures. A shortage means longer polling lines and a tougher time casting your ballot.
If you would like to become a poll worker this election, you can visit the Work Elections site here. We also encourage you to check out your state’s vote-in mailing laws to reduce pressure on polling places on election day.