FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 30, 2020
Fair Elections Center - Rich Robinson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Civic Alliance - Cristina Brooks, email@example.com
Comedy Central and MTV - Lauren Nowell, Lauren.Nowell@viacom.com; Jo Flattery, Jo.Flattery@viacom.com
Power the Polls - Prerana Swami - firstname.lastname@example.org
Pizza to the Polls - Prerana Swami, email@example.com
Power The Polls Launches First-of-its-Kind Effort to Recruit New Wave of Poll Workers for Election Day
In the Midst of a Nationwide Poll Worker Shortage, Nonprofits and Companies Come Together to Ensure Safe, Secure and Fair Elections
Launch Partners Include Civic Alliance, Comedy Central, Fair Elections Center, Levi Strauss & Co., MTV, Patagonia, Pizza to the Polls, Time to Vote, Uber, and We Can Vote.
PORTLAND, Ore. – Today, a coalition of businesses and nonprofits is launching Power the Polls, a first-of-its-kind initiative to recruit a new wave of poll workers – especially among younger, more diverse populations that have not historically filled these roles – to ensure a safe, secure, healthy and fair election for all voters. Amidst a nationwide poll worker shortage and fewer than 100 days to sign up as many as 250,000 new workers nationally, Power the Polls will be part of the solution through education, recruitment, business engagement, PPE procurement, and potential rewards for those who sign up. The initiative is being launched by nonprofit organizations and businesses, namely Civic Alliance, Comedy Central, Fair Elections Center, Levi Strauss & Co, MTV, Patagonia, Pizza to the Polls, Time To Vote, Uber, and We Can Vote—with a goal of recruiting more partners.
Currently, most poll workers are over the age of 60 and in the era of uncertainty caused by the coronavirus, fewer are signing up for the job. The consequences have already been felt in recent primaries where poll worker shortages led to long lines and voter disenfranchisement. Washington, D.C. lost 1,700 election workers during its primary in early June. Similarly, Kentucky consolidated in-person voting in each county to a single polling place during the primary due to poll worker recruitment concerns.
Power the Polls will focus on recruiting low-risk, healthy and more diverse individuals to staff in-person voting locations during early voting and on Election Day in order to ensure that those who choose or need to vote in-person are able to vote safely and delay-free.
The initiative’s platform is built using poll worker requirements collected by the nonpartisan Fair Elections Center with its unique Work Elections web portal. Information is available on poll worker compensation, hours, application links, and training and voter registration requirements for more than 4,000 jurisdictions in states across the country.
“Having healthy poll workers is critical to the voting process,” says Scott Duncombe, the founder of Pizza to the Polls. “During a pandemic, people should not have to choose between putting themselves at risk and acting on their democratic right to vote.” We cannot have mass closures of poll sites on Nov. 3 due to lack of poll workers, resulting in long lines, fewer opportunities to physically distance, and directly stifling voters’ ability to cast a ballot.
Maintaining safe in-person voting is critical for communities without reliable access to mail service, voters with disabilities, those who need language assistance, or for voters who simply want to cast their ballot in-person as they always have.
“We’re excited about this new, expanded initiative to recruit people to be poll workers for the Fall elections,” said Fair Elections Center President Robert Brandon. “We established Work Elections to provide information and make it easy for folks to sign up. This year, with the pandemic affecting the ability of many people who normally work at the polls, we’re pleased to join with these partners to get the word out that poll workers are going to be desperately needed in many communities to help ensure a safe and fair election for voters.”
Power the Polls will recruit and support workers by:
Educating potential voters on the opportunity and experience of manning Election Day polls.
An efficient and effective program to ensure people sign up and show up on Election Day.
Activating businesses to give their workers Election Day off so they can work the polls.
Providing PPE for worker safety on Election Day (through corporate partners).
Rewarding poll workers for their service by providing virtual gifts (merchandise, gift cards, etc.) from Power the Polls business partners to celebrate their service.
“Today we are sounding the alarm on a nationwide poll worker shortage -- and getting ahead of this crisis by recruiting the next generation of younger and more diverse poll workers who can help ensure a safe, fair and smooth election for all voters,” said Erika Soto Lamb, Vice President of Social Impact Strategy, Comedy Central and MTV. “MTV has a long history in youth voter turnout and Comedy Central in addressing the social issues of our time in super funny ways -- together with the other Power the Polls partners we are excited to answer the call of this latest critical challenge of the 2020 elections.”
“While states across the country have rightly focused on extending absentee voting, there's no doubt we will still need robust and well-staffed in-person voting options, especially for people with disabilities, those who need language assistance, or communities without reliable access to mail service,” said Jessica Barba Brown, senior advisor for We Can Vote. “I served as a poll worker for the primary election and it was an eye-opening and gratifying experience. Working together with businesses, election officials, and nonprofits, we can make sure we recruit enough election workers so all voters can have a safe experience at the polls.”
For more information for voters and businesses looking to participate, visit www.powerthepolls.org.
About Civic Alliance
Civic Alliance is America's premier nonpartisan coalition of businesses working together to build a future where everyone shapes our country. Founded by Democracy Works and the CAA Foundation, the Civic Alliance brings together and supports its member companies as they each take concrete actions that encourage internal and external audiences to participate in elections, the 2020 Census, and to be active members of their communities. To join or learn more about the Civic Alliance, visit civicalliance.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Civic Alliance member companies include Amazon, AMC Theatres, Anonymous Content, ATTN:, Bad Robot, BET, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Creative Artists Agency, CMT, Comedy Central, Discovery, Entertainment Industry Foundation, Facebook, FleishmanHillard, Gap Inc., General Assembly, iHeartMedia, INDIEShooter, Instagram, Intelligentsia Coffee, Just Salad, Kenneth Cole Productions, Lyft, Magic Hat Brewing Company, Matchwood Brewing Company, Microsoft, MTV, Paramount Network, Plan A,
Reddit, Inc., Refinery29, Riot Games, Salesforce, SB Projects, Snap, Inc., Spotify, Starbucks, Studio71, Target, The Knoller Group, Thumbtack, Tribeca Enterprises, Tumblr, TV Land, Twitter, Uber, UncommonGoods, Urban Outfitters, Universal Music Group, Univision, Verizon Media, VHI, Warby Parker, WordPress, and Xandr.
About Comedy Central
Comedy Central gives audiences access to a world of super funny, personally relatable, culturally relevant, and provocative comedy that tells the funny truths of life, every day and everywhere. From award-winning late-night, scripted and animated series to stand-up specials, short-form and sketch, Comedy Central has it all. A subsidiary of ViacomCBS, Comedy Central is available to more than 300 million households in over 150 countries across the globe. For up-to-the-minute and archival press information and photographs visit Comedy Central’s press site at press.cc.com and follow us on Twitter at @ComedyCentralPR.
About Fair Elections Center
Established in 2017, Fair Elections Center continues the work of Fair Elections Legal Network (founded in 2006) and provides support for year-round, proactive election reforms at the state and local level to increase voter participation. The Center works to make the processes of voter registration, voting, and election administration as accessible as possible for every American, with a special focus on student and underrepresented voters.
The Fair Elections Center’s legal team has been involved in important voting rights litigation protecting the rights of felons and disenfranchised voters, protecting the vote during the current pandemic and blocking improper voter purges. The Center works directly with local election officials and Secretaries of State to ensure that the right to vote is protected and expanded. In 2018, the Center created the poll worker recruitment web portal, workelections.com to centralize and simplify poll worker requirements and applications. To learn more, visit https://www.fairelectionscenter.org/
About Levi Strauss & Co.
Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) is one of the world's largest brand-name apparel companies and a global leader in jeanswear. The company designs and markets jeans, casual wear and related accessories for men, women and children under the Levi's®, Dockers®, Signature by Levi Strauss & Co.™, and Denizen® brands. Its products are sold in more than 110 countries worldwide through a combination of chain retailers, department stores, online sites, and a global footprint of approximately 3,000 retail stores and shop-in-shops. Levi Strauss & Co.'s reported 2019 net revenues were $5.8 billion. For more information, go to http://levistrauss.com.
MTV is the leading global youth media brand across every platform with operations that span cable and mobile networks, live events, theatrical films and MTV Studios, a unit focused on developing series for SVOD and linear distribution partners.
MTV's +1thevote is encouraging potential first-time voters to register and vote in the November national election with a year-long campaign focused on making voting more social, easier and part of the milestones already happening in their lives, from prom to graduation to birthdays.
We’re in business to save our home planet. Founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, Patagonia is an outdoor apparel company based in Ventura, California. A Certified B Corporation, the company is recognized internationally for its commitment to product quality and environmental activism—and its contributions of more than $110 million in grants and in-kind donations to date.
About Pizza to the Polls
Pizza to the Polls is a non-partisan, nonprofit, all-volunteer initiative with a simple mission: to deliver pizzas to hungry voters waiting in long lines at polling locations. Americans are hungry for democracy and are turning out in record numbers to vote. But that means long lines and sometimes empty stomachs, which might discourage these brave patriots from performing their civic duty. While election administration has become a point of partisan debate - Pizza to the Polls cuts through the partisan rancor with a simple messages that unites Americans of all stripes: lines are terrible and pizza is good. For more information, visit https://polls.pizza.
About Time to Vote
Workers shouldn’t have to choose between earning a paycheck and voting. Time to Vote is a nonpartisan movement, led by the business community, to contribute to the culture shift needed to increase voter participation in our country's elections. Your company can join the movement at maketimetovote.org.
Uber’s mission is to create opportunity through movement. Uber is a technology platform that uses a massive network, leading technology, operational excellence and product expertise to power movement from point A to point B. We develop and operate proprietary technology applications supporting a vari
ety of offerings on our platform. We connect consumers with independent providers of ride services for ridesharing services, and connect consumers with restaurants and food delivery service providers for meal
preparation and delivery services. We also connect consumers with public transportation networks, e-bikes, e-scooters and other personal mobility options. We use this same network, technology, operational excellence and product expertise to connect shippers with carriers in the freight industry. We are also developing technologies that will provide autonomous driving vehicle solutions to consumers, networks of vertical take-off and landing vehicles and new solutions to solve everyday problems.
Our technology is available in 69 countries around the world, principally in the United States and Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia (excluding China and Southeast Asia).
About We Can Vote
We Can Vote is a nonpartisan coalition of public health experts, civic organizations, businesses, and elected officials who are dedicated to making the 2020 elections safe, secure, and successful.
WeCanVote.US provides accurate, up-to-date information on voting rules, volunteer opportunities, and nonpartisan advocacy campaigns for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, voting territories, and Americans Abroad.
In partnership with public health and election administration experts, We Can Vote launched HealthyVoting.org to provide voters with practical advice on how to protect themselves and their community from the spread of COVID-19.