WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On the eve of National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, the Civic Alliance, a nonpartisan business coalition co-founded by the CAA Foundation and Democracy Works, launches its Election Day of Service initiative and announces unprecedented actions from its member companies to address America’s national shortage of poll workers and polling locations.
More than 60 Civic Alliance member companies – including Starbucks, Target, Old Navy, Salesforce, Microsoft, Expedia, Twitter, Uber, Lyft, and Warby Parker – are taking concrete steps to encourage their employees or consumers to serve as poll workers. Many companies are also offering PPE and safe, accessible spaces for voting to local election officials.
Across the country, in a year when the election has the potential to attract historic turnout, officials are sounding the alarm about poll worker shortages and shuttered polling places. Elections experts have suggested that thousands of new locations will be needed this year and hundreds of thousands of new poll workers will be required to keep polling places open. Much of this is directly related to COVID-19, which requires reduced capacity at existing polling places due to social distancing and also makes unavailable many public locations that typically serve as polling places. Further, because of heightened health risks, many recent poll workers—most of whom are over the age of 60—are opting out of serving this year.
“A successful democracy is reliant on the active participation of its citizens, and we, as business leaders, must take the necessary steps to ensure that voting is protected at all costs. Being able to vote without barriers, especially during this pandemic, is vital,” said Richard Lovett, Chairman and President, Creative Artists Agency (CAA). “The Civic Alliance and its member companies, including CAA, are taking meaningful action to meet our country’s urgent needs, like actively recruiting volunteer poll workers, offering publicly accessible spaces to serve as polling stations, and securing donations of PPE to protect in-person voters and poll workers. The work of the Civic Alliance is critical in helping shape our country’s future by ensuring that all Americans can safely complete their civic duty.”
The Civic Alliance is leading corporate partnerships for Power the Polls, a national effort to enlist a new wave of poll workers. The partners have set a goal to recruit 250,000 new poll workers -- and are already more than halfway there.
“Voting is a fundamental right and as business leaders, it's our responsibility to protect the right to vote for our employees and communities. To ensure a safe and equitable election this November, polling centers must remain open for those who need to vote in person,” said Dave Gilboa, Warby Parker Co-Founder and Co-CEO. At Warby Parker, we're giving our team members paid time off to vote and opportunities to volunteer at poll centers in their communities on and leading up to Election Day.”
“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.
With senior centers, schools, and other venues not available for polling locations this year, election officials are in search of new, safe spaces for voting. The Civic Alliance is connecting companies with the appropriate election officials in order to offer publicly accessible spaces for voting.
“One of our central goals as an organization is to be a civic asset and partner to the city of Atlanta and its residents. We understand the importance of voting and we are grateful that we can use State Farm Arena, our incredible staff and other resources to provide a safe and secure environment for Atlanta residents to participate in this year’s important election,” said Steve Koonin, CEO of the Atlanta Hawks.
Compounding these challenges, the pandemic also requires that election officials source PPE for their polling places. Through a partnership with Mission for Masks and the C19 Coalition, the Civic Alliance has helped to match election officials in need of PPE with suppliers of masks, face shields and disposable gloves.
“The more people who vote, the stronger our country will be. We are proud to once again encourage our employees, consumers and communities to engage and be active citizens this election season – whether by providing access to voting information, giving our employees time off to vote through Time to Vote, or connecting employees to opportunities to train as poll workers," said Chip Bergh, President and Chief Executive Officer of Levi Strauss & Co., which is working with the Civic Alliance on several programs to promote voter engagement and turnout. "We also recognize the need to support a safe and accessible election this year, and will be donating 15,000 masks for poll workers to help ensure that no one has to choose between their vote and their health."
“The majority of BLK users are under the age of 35 and live in predominantly Black communities. These are the same communities that felt the brunt of the cutbacks in polling locations earlier this year during the primaries,” stated Jonathan Kirkland, Head of BLK, a dating app from the Match Group. “For this reason, we understand that it’s our responsibility to make sure our voices are heard and are excited to be partnering with the Civic Alliance this upcoming election to use our platform to empower our millions of users to come together and take action to protect voting access.”
“It would be antithetical to say that our company supports our employees and fosters a culture that values and respects diversity and inclusion, and not do everything we can to ensure all of our employees have the opportunity to exercise their basic human right to participate in our democratic process,” said Todd Siwak, CEO, Ferrara Candy Company, maker of SweeTARTS, Trolli, BRACH’S and Now and Later among other iconic brands. “We are proud to declare Election Day a ‘Day of Service’ for all of our employees, and will provide them with the non-partisan educational tools and resources they need to cast a ballot in the way they feel most comfortable, while supporting our community’s right to vote through volunteer efforts in areas where we collectively live and work across the country.”
As part of the Civic Alliance’s Election Day of Service, the following companies are stepping up to help ensure that polls stay open this November: AllianceBernstein, Airbnb, AMC Theatres, Anonymous Content, Atlanta Hawks, AppDynamics, Bad Robot Productions, Bird + Stone, BLK - The Match Group, BlueApron, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Burton, Campbell Ewald, Civic Entertainment Group, Color Farm Media, Comedy Central, Compass Coffee, Creative Artists Agency, Crossover Collective, Discovery Inc., Expedia Group, Fenwick & West LLP, Ferrara Candy Company, General Assembly, GitHub, Good Fear Content, Harry's, icitizen, InVision, Levi Strauss & Co., Lime, LinkedIn, Litify, Lyft, Microsoft, Minnesota Timberwolves & Lynx, MTV, Neu, New Belgium Brewing, Old Navy, Otherwise Incorporated, PagerDuty, Patagonia, PayPal, Reddit, Richer Poorer, Salesforce, Solve, Spiro.AI, Starbucks, Target, The Change Agent·cy, The Nucleus Group, theSkimm, Thumbtack, Tumblr, Twitter, Uber, Verizon Media, Warby Parker, and Zillow Group.
Many of these companies’ broader commitment in joining the Civic Alliance includes offering comprehensive civic engagement programs that ensure employees have time to vote, as well as educating employees and consumers about voter registration and the rapidly evolving process of voting in this election.
The Civic Alliance is proud to partner with the C19 Coalition, Fair Elections Center, Mission for Masks, Power the Polls, and Time to Vote on this important initiative.
About the Civic Alliance
The Civic Alliance is a nonpartisan business coalition that strengthens our democracy by supporting safe, trusted, and accessible elections and inspiring every American to participate in shaping our country’s future. Founded by the CAA Foundation and Democracy Works, the Civic Alliance cultivates a community of companies united by a shared belief that an active democracy is good for business and an engaged business community is good for democracy. With its valuable tools, resources, events, and partnership opportunities, the Civic Alliance helps its more than 150 member companies engage their employees and consumers as active participants in civic life. Join us at civicalliance.com.
About the Co-Founding Organizations:
About the CAA Foundation
The CAA Foundation activates the power and reach of the entertainment, media, and sports industries to create systemic social change for a more equitable and optimistic future. Its efforts are focused on public education, workforce development, civic engagement, and in times of critical need, mobilizing into action through crisis relief. Since its launch in 1995, the CAA Foundation has served as the heart of the agency, investing in our communities and helping our clients achieve their humanitarian goals.
About Democracy Works
Democracy Works is a nonpartisan, nonprofit that builds technology to simplify and modernize the voting process. Through TurboVote, an online tool that helps voters register and request absentee ballots, the organization sends election reminders to over seven million voters. Democracy Works also helps millions of Americans find their election information through the Voting Information Project, and helps track millions of ballots via Ballot Scout, adding confidence and transparency to the vote-by-mail process. Through partnerships with corporations, colleges, and nonprofits, Democracy Works expands the reach of their technology and makes it easier for voters to get to the polls and participate in our democracy.