SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.— Old Navy employees will be paid if they work as poll volunteers on election day, the retailer said Tuesday — National Poll Worker Recruitment Day.
The company’s more than 50,000 employees are being encouraged to apply to serve in their communities as poll workers.
Associates who work polls will be compensated with eight hours worth of pay, outside of any compensation they receive from their local jurisdiction.
“We are constantly inspired by our store teams, with their passion for community work and fostering a sense of belonging both in and outside of our store walls. Every voice in this country matters and deserves to be heard at the polls, and if we at Old Navy can be even a small part of making that process more accessible to the communities we call home, we are on board,” said Nancy Green, Head of Old Navy.
The company has partnered with the Civic Alliance and Power the Polls.
“Poll workers are kind of the make or break point,” Jeanette Senecal, with the League of Women Voters, said. “If they’re the people who are interfacing with the voters, they’re the people who are supporting those voters at the polling place on Election Day.”
Officials estimate that across the U.S. about a quarter of a million poll workers may still be needed. It can take about 30 days to train them all, which means they need poll workers to sign up right now, in order to be ready by Election Day. Poll worker pay varies by county, but in some it can be as much as $17 an hour.
“This is a real opportunity for us to recruit a new generation of Americans, who can help ensure a safe and fair and as smooth as possible Election Day,” said Erika Soto Lamb, a vice-president at Comedy Central and MTV.
The networks are part of the new, national non-profit coalition, Power the Polls, targeting younger people, who have never been poll workers before.
“The work of Power the Polls is really in sounding the alarm bell, bringing people into the mix and then connecting them with their local boards of elections and secretaries of state, to make sure they are plugged in to work the polls in areas that need it the most,” Soto Lamb said.
If there is a shortage of poll workers, experts fear some polling places may not be able to open at all and the ones that do could experience long lines.
“This summer, we saw a voting rights legend pass away in Congressman John Lewis, whose life was built around voting rights and access – and this is one of those component parts,” Soto Lamb said.
So far, Power the Polls has recruited 160,000 poll workers for Election Day. However, not everyone who signs up, will show up, so they are aiming to recruit as many as possible to ensure there are enough poll workers available.
According to Power the Polls, the states with the most need for additional poll workers are: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.