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What are the Rules About Voting During Work Hours?

Published Friday Oct 30, 2020

What are the Rules About Voting During Work Hours?

There are no federal laws requiring employers to give time off work to vote. While the majority of states, 29, say employers must allow workers to vote during work hours, NH does not.

No laws require companies to give workers time off to vote. But employers cannot influence or intimidate employees to vote for or against a particular candidate.

How do I ask my employer about voting during work hours?

Just because your state doesn’t require companies to allow workers to vote during work hours, doesn’t mean you cannot vote during work hours.

The best tactic is to ask, plain and simple, if there is a company policy in place for voting during work hours. Many companies go above and beyond state law to help make voting easier for their employees.

If not, you can then politely explain that you would like to vote but are unable to do so outside of work hours. If helpful, you can explain why (long commute making it impossible to vote and arrive at work during voting hours, no window of time outside of your work shift or with other important commitments, etc.) However, do not feel obligated to divulge personal information you are not comfortable sharing.

Feel free to suggest compromises, such as working remotely to be closer to your voting stations or shifting your work day back or forward to accommodate polling place hours.

Regardless, if the time is inconvenient for you (for example, if your employer chooses the middle of the day when your polling place is near your home, an hour away from work), open a dialogue with your boss and explain the circumstances.

It is entirely possible accommodations can be made.

I want to volunteer or work at the polls on Election Day. Can my employer stop me from doing that?

While more companies are allowing employees time off to work the polls, there are no federal or state laws requiring employers allow employees to work polls during elections.

If your work gives volunteer time off, you can ask to use that time to work the polls. Otherwise, you may need to follow your companies leave policy and use PTO.

What happens if I am denied the right to vote because my employer broke the law?

Your employer is legally required to follow all voting laws, or be subject to fines and legal consequences.

Ultimately, the goal of voting during work hours is to vote, and not sue your employer. Proactively bring up voting before election day to help the process go smoothly.

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