The U.S. presidential election is just two months off. It’s an election that’s arguably one of the most important in the country’s history, yet it’s one that faces a number of challenges, from ongoing foreign influence campaigns to personal safety issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yet another major issue facing the 2020 elections is a severe lack of volunteer poll workers, reports NBC News. A poll worker is someone you see on staff at polling locations when you go to vote. These poll workers do everything from setting up a polling place to helping voters who show up understand the voting process and their voting rights. Yet because of the danger from the COVID-19 pandemic, some locals are having problems attracting enough poll workers, which could result in hours-long waits at polling places this November.
That’s where Tory Burch comes in. The American fashion label has announced that it will give any U.S. employee who registers to volunteer as a poll worker a paid day off to carry out the task. Announcing the initiative, the company explained, “This November, the U.S. faces a severe shortage of poll workers—essential volunteers who staff polling sites on Election Day, issuing ballots to registered voters, monitoring voting equipment, explaining how to vote, or counting votes. This, coupled with reduced numbers of people allowed inside the polls because of COVID, will result in incredibly long lines and threaten citizens ability to exercise their right to vote on November 3rd.”
The company went on to announce its paid day off for U.S. workers’ program, saying “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.”
While it’s unknown if any other American companies are planning similar initiatives for employees who become volunteer poll workers, a number of U.S. companies have announced they are giving employees the day off in order to vote, with major firms like Apple telling employees they can have four hours of paid time off to vote on Election Day.
Regardless of whether you are a Tory Birch employee, you can find out how to register as a poll worker by checking out the Work Elections site here.