LEOMINSTER, Mass. - Commercial office furniture specialist AIS says it will provide facemasks for every poll worker in Massachusetts who needs one on Election Day.
The company is working directly with Secretary of State William F. Galvin's office and city and town clerks to ensure that the donated masks are delivered to municipalities and distributed to poll workers well in advance of the Presidential Election on Tuesday, November 3. As of Monday, October 5 more than 200 city and town clerks across the Commonwealth had requested mask donations from AIS in quantities ranging from 10 to 1,500. Over three million voters are expected to cast ballots in person around Massachusetts.
"Our democracy relies on the ability of all citizens to be able to freely and safely cast their votes in person on Election Day," said Bruce Platzman, CEO of AIS. "These dedicated poll workers in each municipality – many of whom have served their communities for years – are in every way the frontline essential personnel that make the democratic process function."
Platzman said AIS expects to deliver more than 20,000 facemasks to city and town clerks for use by municipal employees, poll workers and Election Day volunteers. Those shipments began going out from the company's Leominster headquarters last week.
AIS began making facemasks – using antimicrobial fabrics and other premium materials – when the COVID-19 pandemic intensified in April. Then in May, the company established the nationwide Sew the Masks initiative – activating internal production lines and close to 1,000 volunteer 'Rosies' in 45 states to create masks at their home sewing machines for donation and distribution to first responders, frontline workers and other people in need. To date, AIS and its corporate sponsor partners have donated and distributed almost 150,000 facemasks to people across the United States.
Through coordination with the Secretary of State's office, AIS began working with city and town clerks on September 30 to arrange for delivery of Election Day mask supplies. Within 48 hours nearly 200 municipalities had already signed up for the free mask deliveries -with dozens more making requests by Monday, October 5. AIS will also provide a small quantity of disposable masks to each community for voters who arrive without a mask on Election Day.
The effort was first initiated following an appeal to AIS from Leominster City Clerk Katelyn Huffman, who noted that financial hardships the city has experienced as a result of COVID-19 made the acquisition of adequate PPE especially difficult.
"Due to the limitations of our budget, and the rules and restraints for new monetary acquisitions, we … have been struggling to find ways to acquire the equipment in a timely manner," Huffman said in an August 27 letter to AIS CEO Bruce Platzman.
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