Old Navy to pay 50,000 employees to serve as poll workers in November

Old Navy announced plans this week to pay its 50,000 U.S. employees to serve as poll workers on Election Day in November.

The unprecedented effort — with the goal to sign up 250,000 election workers only two months ahead of the presidential vote — comes after worker shortages contributed to alarming wait times in some state primaries earlier this year, leading to accusations of voter suppression.

The San Francisco-based clothing retailer owned by Gap Inc. will partner with an initiative called Power the Polls to “recruit poll workers to ensure a safe, fair election for all voters,” according to news reports.

The company will also keep workers on the clock for up to three hours so they can vote in person Nov. 3.

“Because it’s so important that we all can vote (and that we all do vote!),” Old Navy wrote on Facebook.

The partnership noted that older citizens who typically work polling sites are likely to skip in-person voting because of the risks from the coronavirus pandemic and is thus seeking “healthy, low-risk candidates to ensure that those workers most susceptible to the coronavirus are given the space to take care of their health.”

The poll workers will be paid, given training and personal protective equipment.

“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, according to CBS News.

Prompted by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, NBA star LeBron James and other prominent sports figures have launched a national campaign to also recruit poll workers.