Sep 11, 2020 - Technology

Exclusive: Facebook will give workers paid time off to work polls

Photo Illustration by Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

All Facebook employees will be able to take extra paid time off to help staff polls on Election Day and participate in any trainings ahead of time, company executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: The effort comes amid poll worker shortages, with many older people who would typically do the job planning to stay home because of COVID-19.

Details: Facebook will also begin sending notifications to users that are 18 or older about how to sign up as poll workers in their states.

  • The alerts will be placed at the top of the Facebook app beginning Saturday and they will direct users to each state’s website for more signup information.

Flashback: The company announced last month that it's offering free ad credits to election authorities in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., so they can run ads to recruit poll workers.

  • The California secretary of state’s office began running such ads this week. Executives tell Axios that more states will be running ads in the coming days.

Between the lines: Facebook is aiming to shore up election integrity on and off the platform. It has long pushed get-out-the-vote initiatives but has faced heavy criticism for its failure to catch election meddling on its platform in 2016.

  • Facebook already gives its employees paid time off to vote, on top of their other time off.
  • It also already includes a poll worker module within its Voting Information Center on Facebook and Instagram that connects people with more information about volunteering with their local election authorities.

The big picture: Other Big Tech companies are also pushing to expand poll worker efforts ahead of the election. Sources told Axios last month that Snapchat is rolling out new products and partnerships to drive poll worker sign-ups as well.

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