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Tory Burch joins Old Navy in paying employees to work Election Day polls

September 3, 2020, 12:58 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Meghan and Harry ink a Netflix deal, Jesse Mermell is in the running for Rep. Joe Kennedy’s Massachusetts seat, and Tory Burch joins Old Navy in paying employees to work at the polls. Have a terrific Thursday.

– Working the polls. Earlier this week, we linked to a story about Old Navy’s decision to provide a day’s pay to any U.S. employee who volunteers as a poll worker on Election Day. Now, it seems that the retailer—led by Gap CEO Sonia Syngal—may have provided some inspiration: Tory Burch, which already planned to close stores and offices on Nov. 3 to make it easier to vote, has announced that it will also offer a paid day off to employees who opt to work the polls.

This would be admirable corporate decision making in any election year, but it’s particularly important this cycle, when the U.S. is down 250,000 poll workers. The main factor behind the shortage: many of the usual volunteers are age 60 or older and are opting out amid COVID concerns.

In an email interview with Vogue, Tory Burch, who remains executive chairman and chief creative officer of her eponymous brand, said that “as a businesswoman and a citizen, it is important to me to do what I can to help provide solutions.” She also dropped in a subtle challenge to her peers in the fashion industry—and beyond. “I do think giving people time off to vote and offering employees the opportunity to be poll workers is something the fashion industry can get behind,” said Burch. “But I really think it should be about all industries, as we’re all in this together.” 

Frankly, I find it shocking that more companies have not yet followed in the footsteps of Tory Burch and Old Navy. Yes, it’s an incredibly divisive moment in U.S., and it’s understandable that some companies would prefer to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that politics don’t exist. But this is an opportunity to not just encourage Americans to participate in our democratic process—something only a total cynic would try to paint as partisan—but, in enabling poll volunteers, to help solve one of the major challenges facing our nation.

Many in the business world have talked at length about the private sector having the ability to step up to tackle the problems government has proved incapable of addressing. Well, here’s a great opportunity to put that theory into practice.

Kristen Bellstrom
kristen.bellstrom@fortune.com
@kayelbee

Today’s Broadsheet was curated by Emma Hinchliffe

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

- A royal production. Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry have signed a multiyear deal with Netflix. The couple have yet to name their production company, but their Hollywood plans resemble the Obamas' post-White House playbook. The pair said they are interested in producing documentaries and scripted material, adding that, "as new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us." New York Times

- Up for debate. The Commission on Presidential Debates has chosen moderators for upcoming general election match-ups. NBC News journalist Kristen Welker will run the third debate between President Trump and Vice President Joe Biden, and USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page will moderate the vice-presidential version. CBS News

- Mass exodusRep. Joe Kennedy's unsuccessful primary bid against Sen. Ed Markey in Massachusetts left his Congressional seat open; the Democratic primary in the state's fourth district has yet to be called, with candidate Jesse Mermell still in the running. If Mermell wins the primary, she would face GOP contender Julie Hall in November. Boston Globe

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Intel promoted Barbara Whye, chief diversity and inclusion officer and vice president of social impact and HR, to corporate vice president. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

- Baby steps. California Assemblymember Buffy Wicks gave birth in July and requested to vote by proxy on a housing bill. The State Assembly denied her request, saying that having a newborn or being on maternity did not meet the requirement for a substitute of being high-risk for coronavirus. Wicks traveled from Oakland to the Sacramento Assembly floor with her newborn in tow to cast her vote; the Assembly's speaker apologized afterward. Politico

- Problematic plea. A lawyer for Jamarcus Glover, the ex-boyfriend of Breonna Taylor whose case police used as justification to enter her house in March, says that an initial plea deal presented to Glover required him to name Taylor, after she was killed, as part of an "organized crime syndicate." Her name was removed from later drafts, the attorney says. A lawyer representing Taylor's family says the deal was an effort to "kill her reputation and her good name." The case's prosecutor responded that his office did not name Taylor as a codefendant. NBC News

- I'll make a hit out of you. Before Mulan, directed by Niki Caro, hits Disney+ on Friday, the WSJ looks at how Disney is using the film to make headway in China. The country's movie theaters reopened in July, and executives hope that years of effort to make a film that would appeal to the Chinese audience—familiar with the folk tale the story is based on but unhappy with Disney's 1990s animated version—will pay off despite global circumstances. Wall Street Journal

ON MY RADAR

Barbara Judge, who shattered many glass ceilings, dies at 73 New York Times

Enter Planet Miranda July Vulture

Tracee Ellis Ross felt lost in Hollywood. Then she changed course The Atlantic

The pandemic is the perfect time for a parents revolution Slate

PARTING WORDS

"This is a story told by women about a very specific woman, but it became a universal story about a person looking for their voice and identity and freedom."

-Esther Kling, casting director for the Netflix series Unorthodox