Do I Get Time Off To Vote? Know Your Rights

Reader Daniel says his employer is violating state law by not offering paid time off for employees to vote. He forwarded a handy list that you can use to check to see if you’re entitled to time off to vote.

Daniel says:

My office recently sent out an email stating “Any employee who wishes to take time off work to vote must request that time by the close of business today. This time will be unpaid.”

Unfortunately for them, that’s a violation of state law.

Even if your state doesn’t have laws about getting time off for voting, don’t let your employer stop you. Vote!

Time Off to Vote for Employees — A State by State Survey [Employment Law Post]
(Photo: msmail )

Comments

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  1. Toof_75_75 says:

    I plan to just go after work…

  2. Teh1337Pirat3 says:

    Polling was open till 7 where I am, just go after work or during your lunch and quit being such a baby

    • Ouze says:

      because, after all, no one is predicting record turnouts and hence long lines this year. I personally see no problem with managing to make the 20 minute drive from work to my polling place, wait on line for 30+ minutes, and then make the 20 minute drive back to work, all within my 30 minute lunch break.

    • tande04 says:

      @Teh1337Pirat3: Eh, I guess it depends on your outlook.

      Especially when I worked retail I put in sooo much work figuring out ways I could get out of work it wasn’t even funny.

      I think I was the first person that store ever paid to go vote. They tried to get out of it a couple of different ways (here you don’t get paid time off if you have 3 consecutive hours off while the polls are open) but I stuck with it and eventually we got it worked out.

      Now I’ve got a considerably better job but I still make sure I get the hour off. I guess for me it has nothing to do with being a “baby” about it, I’m just going to make sure I get what is provided for me. Its a benefit (albeit a state given one) and I’m going to take advantage of it like any other benefit. I’d probably bitch if they changed my inssurance options too but I guess thats a bit like whinning too.

    • dewsipper says:

      @Teh1337Pirat3: Lets see, It’s a shade over an hour’s drive each way to/from work. And a 9-hour work day on top of that, plus the mandated 45 minutes for lunch. Umm… how am I being a baby again?

    • little stripes says:

      @Teh1337Pirat3: LOL, what? Some places are expecting HOURS of waiting … how does one go during an hour lunch break if it takes them 20 minutes to get there, 20 minutes to get back … and 2+ hours to vote? And what about those with kids are who go to school or they work far from where their polling place is? Not everyone has such an easy, simple life as you, you know.

    • yasth says:

      That depends on the state, in Indiana for example they are open 6AM to 6pm and Hawaii is 7am to 6pm, and waits of two hours or more are common and expected.

      Besides it is the law because people should be able to vote. In the bad old days some crafty employers would simply schedule all of their line workers to work 14 hour shifts on election day. A great way to get anti union people elected in a union town.

    • Etoiles says:

      @Teh1337Pirat3: Then there are those of us for whom home — where the polling place is — and work are an hour apart. And in my case (and this is very, very common in metro NY and metro DC) in different states.

      Luckily my boss doesn’t care how late I show up. I’m bringing a LONG book to read in line in Virginia at 7:00 tomorrow morning…

    • dreamsneverend says:

      @Teh1337Pirat3: Or vote absentee, or vote early, or or or.. whoever is whining about this is just lazy. I went after I worked the past Saturday and stood in line 3.5hrs to exercise my civic duty. I guess if society doesn’t bend to every single person’s will it must be broken!!

      • tande04 says:

        @rainmkr: Again, getting something you are intitled to by law isn’t whining or being a baby.

        If you don’t have a law in your state like this, then crying about it isn’t going to do you any good, but if your state has a law that requires it, it isn’t whining to get it.

      • jamar0303 says:

        @rainmkr: I voted absentee. They mailed me a “denied” response 3 days before the absentee mailing deadline. It took multiple visits to the consulate to sort it out. Did I mention that they mailed the denial to my registered voting address and not the address I was actually living at? If my cousin wasn’t staying there I’d be without my vote and never know.

        And that’s why you should try to avoid absentee voting if you can. If state law allows paid time off to vote they should use it by all means.

      • johnnya2 says:

        @rainmkr: Well I value my time, and I have no DUTY to vote for the lessor of two evils. If the incompetent boobs can not make it take less than 3.5 hours than I refuse to participate in it. It is 2008, why can’t it be done online, through the mail, or anywhere else. Every government check which is MONEY can be done electronically, but voting requires you to “register” for somthing that is supposedly your RIGHT.

    • Twilly says:

      @dewsipper: I’m over an hour both ways, in an entirely different county than were I live (Chicago). I’ll be up at 5:30 am to get cleaned up and over to polling by 6, so I can hopefully be in my car by 7 and on the road to work. I’ll still be 15 minutes late, but it’s better than nothing.

  3. RAREBREED says:

    It also depends who you work for. If you work for the Federal Government, the President has to actually announce that Federal employees can take X number of hours for voting, otherwise, it’s on your own time.

    • oneandone says:

      @RAREBREED: Yes. If I’m interpreting the rules correctly, you have off whatever part of your workday overlaps with 3 hours after your polling place opens or 3 hours before it closes, whichever is shorter.

      So if polls open at 7, and you’re usually in at 8, you have 2 hours off to vote. However, if they close at 7, and you’re finished with work at 5, you would have only 1 hour off to vote. A person working this schedule with these kinds of polling place hours would only have 1 hour off, since that’s the shorter of the before work/after work times, regardless of when you actually do go vote.

  4. Eldritch says:

    Please. I work in retail. They’re not giving us shit.

    • MattO says:

      @Eldritch:
      i hear that one….i work in corporate offices of a retail chain…we get jack as well….

    • jeebussez says:

      @Eldritch: Funny, I work retail and I’ve been able to take paid time off to vote without a problem (I point to the big poster that HR has so nicely put up) at the two places I’ve worked.

  5. Git Em SteveDave loves this guy--> says:

    My polling place is within walking distance, and it would take me more than an hour to leave work to vote and return, so I am going afterwards.

  6. tange1 says:

    Site is down, does anyone have a mirror? Just curious

  7. teh says:

    Go vote today: many states allow early voting.
    Don’t be turned away: be in line before polls close. If someone challenges your right to vote, be clear and persistent. Do not settle for a provisional ballot unless absolutely necessary. Report any such challenges to the county elections official and (perhaps) local press.

  8. plj says:

    So don’t vote. Good night most polls are open 6AM to 8PM and this guy wants to be paid to vote. If you want to be paid go to Philadelphia and search out for those walking about guys, they seem to be flush with cash.

    • jamar0303 says:

      @plj: Um… are you thinking of the same kind of voting that everyone else is? Because “So don’t vote” should not be an acceptable response when we’re deciding how we’re going to weather a major crisis.

  9. Avacasso says:

    I am going to get up early and try to be one of the first people in line…my polls open at 7 am.

  10. ArtlessDodger says:

    Part of the issue here is that some people are unable to go after work or before due to children, other engagements, life, etc. Especially considering that this year, most districts expect record turnouts for voting. If you get in line to vote at 5:30pm, who knows how long you’ll actually be there before it’s your turn to walk behind the curtain.

    It’s not just whining if you want your employer to simply honor the law.

    • supercereal says:

      @ArtlessDodger: You have the right to vote, not the right to vote efficiently. The electoral process shouldn’t have to work around everyone’s individual schedules, just like your job may not. With polling places open for 13-15 hours, you should be able to rearrange you life for an hour or two.

      • tande04 says:

        @supercereal: The point being though that if the state requires time off you should get it.

        Its no different then any other article here reminding people of their rights under the fair credit act or something else.

        • kathyl says:

          @tande04: Yes, exactly.

          Anyone who disagrees with the laws in some states that require paid time off for voting, I encourage you to avail yourself of your role as a citizen in the political and legislative process to entreat your appropriate representatives to get the law changed.

          Until then, if it’s a legal requirement to pay employees for time off to vote, they are entitled to request that and should expect no difficulties from their employer for doing so.

          Laws are laws. If you don’t like ‘em, work to change ‘em.

      • Pylon83 says:

        @supercereal:
        I agree completely. Your employer should not be required to pay you to vote during work hours. Just because you made personal decisions and have other things that conflict with voting after work doesn’t mean your employer should have to accommodate you and let you go, paid, during working hours. I think it’s pretty absurd that states have passed these laws, and that people feel so entitled to pay while voting.

        • ArtlessDodger says:

          @Pylon83:
          I see what you both are saying. I didn’t mean to say that the voting process should have to mold itself to fit your schedule.

          I just think the crux of the matter is that if your employer is required by law to allow you to be off (paid or unpaid) they should honor it.

          • Pylon83 says:

            @ArtlessDodger:
            I’ll give you that. As the law stands, he has to be given paid time off to vote. Whether or not I agree with it, he should hold his employer to the law and ensure he is paid for the time off. However, if I were him, I’d make damn sure I read the law very carefully and make sure it actually applied to my situation. That said, the laws are BS and represent overreaching by the state governments.

      • exconsumer9 says:

        @supercereal: Well, if state law dictates it, then yes, you most certainly do have the right to vote efficiently. The whole point of democracy is that everybody votes. In order for that to work, the government, and everybody else, does have an obligation to prevent disenfranchisement via other obligations.

    • Luckwouldhaveit says:

      @ArtlessDodger: @supercereal: But you do have a right to vote efficiently — if lines are 4-5 hours long in your precinct, how is that not essentially a poll tax (ie, only those who can afford to take 5 hours out of what is a normal work day can then afford to vote). Mandatory time-off and time-off-with-pay laws are put there specifically to protect one’s right to vote, and also to prevent an employer from disenfranchising its employees by forcing them to choose between their livelihood and their right to vote.

  11. Meggers says:

    I told my manager that I might be late to work tomorrow. He jokingly “fired” me because I am going to vote for the wrong guy.

    I work in a place where politics is discussed often and is a central part of the business so everyone is allowed to come in late or leave early to vote. Its nice except for the fact that I need to be at work on November 5 at 7am.

  12. satoru says:

    I can’t vote so I’m not taking any time off either way

  13. tande04 says:

    Just out of curiosity do you guys at Consumerist ever get dirty e-mails from the sites you crash by linking to them?

  14. MercuryPDX says:

    A friend of mine put together a website to track voting irregularities.

    [www.wheresmyvote.com]

  15. DeafChick says:

    1. Go before the polls are open which mean get there an hour or two early.

    2. Go after you get off work and expect to a long wait time.

    3. Do not go during your lunch break.

    My job is giving me one hour to vote but I’m going to be in line at 5am so I can go in and out and still get to work on time.

  16. darkrose says:

    I voted early. Voting all done for me.

  17. Skellbasher says:

    Different states have different laws on this subject.

    Some states require you to be paid, others states you can take the time unpaid without penalty.

    Some states require you to request time off in advance, others do not.

    EVERYONE needs to look up their state, and know the law that applies to you.

    Here’s the list from a mirror:

    1. Alabama – Employees are given “necessary” time off to vote, not to exceed one hour. The employee must give reasonable notice to get the time off. However, if the polls open at least two hours before the employee starts work and close at least one hour after the employee ends work, the employer doesn’t have to give the employee time off. The statute doesn’t specify if the time off is paid. (Ala. Code Section 17-1-5)

    2. Alaska – An employer must allow an employee time off for voting unless the employee has two consecutive hours either before or after a regular work shift to vote. An employee doesn’t have to provide advance notice to the employer. This time off is paid. (Alaska Stat. Section 15.15.100)

    3. Arizona – If polls aren’t open three consecutive hours outside the employee’s regular shift, the employee can have up to three hours to vote. Employees must give notice in advance of election day to be given this time off, and the employer may specify the time that the employee can take off. The leave is paid. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Section 16-402)

    4. Arkansas – An employer must schedule work hours so that an employee has a sufficient opportunity to vote. The employee doesn’t have to request the time off in advance. The statute doesn’t state whether the time off is paid or unpaid. (Ark. Code Ann. Section 7-1-102)

    5. California – Employees are allowed up to two paid hours time off at the beginning or end of their regular working shift to vote. An employee must provide notice at least two working days in advance of the election if, on the third working day prior to the election, the employee knows or has reason to believe there will be a need for time off to vote. An employee will be excluded from the time off rules if there is sufficient non-working time to vote. Although the law requires time to be taken at the beginning or end of the work shift, the employer and employee can agree on another arrangement. Employers must post a conspicuous notice of employee voting rights ten days before every statewide election. (Cal. Election Code Sections 1400 and 1401)

    6. Colorado – An employee may take up to two hours leave time to vote; however, the employee won’t be given leave if there are three or more non-working hours when the polls are open to vote. The employee must give notice of the need for leave prior to election day. The employer can specify the hours that it will give the employee off, but the hours must be at the beginning or end of the employee’s work shift if the employee requests it. The time off is paid. (Colo. Rev. Stat. Sections 1-7-102 and 31-10-603)

    7. Connecticut – There is no state law regarding employee time off to vote.

    8. Delaware – There is no state law regarding employee time off to vote.

    9. District of Columbia – There is no law regarding employee time off to vote.

    10. Florida – There is no state law regarding employee time off to vote.

    11. Georgia – If polls aren’t open two consecutive non-working hours, an employee is allowed up to two hours leave to vote. Put another way, employees aren’t entitled to leave if their work schedules begin at least two hours after the polls open or end at least two hours before they close. The employee must give reasonable notice for leave. The employer can specify the time it will give the employee off to vote. The statute doesn’t state whether this time off is paid or unpaid. (Ga.Code Ann. Section 21-2-404)

    12. Hawaii – If polls aren’t open two consecutive hours outside an employee’s regular shift, the employee can take up to two hours to vote, excluding lunch and rest periods. The statute requires employers to pay employees for time off with proof that a vote is cast. The employer may deduct leave time from the employee’s wages if the employee fails to vote and the employer can verify the failure to vote. (Haw. Rev. Stat. Section 11-95)

    13. Idaho – There is no state law regarding employee time off to vote.

    14. Illinois – Employees are allowed up to two hours paid time off to vote. An employee must apply for leave prior to election day. The employer must permit a two-hour absence from work if the employee’s working hours begin less than two hours after polls open and less than two hours before polls close. (10 Ill. Comp. Stat. Sections 5/7-42 and 10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/17-15)

    15. Indiana – There is no state law regarding employee time off to vote.

    16. Iowa – An employee can have up to three hours to vote if the polls aren’t open three consecutive hours outside the employee’s regular shift. The employee must apply individually and in writing for leave prior to election day. The time off is paid. The employer may specify the time off that it will give to the employee. (Iowa Code Section 49.109)

    17. Kansas – Employees are allowed up to two hours paid time off to vote if the polls aren’t open outside an employee’s work shift. If the polls are open before or after an employee’s work shift for fewer than two consecutive hours, then the employee is only entitled to an amount of time off that, when added to the time that the polls are open before or after work, totals two consecutive hours. The employer can specify the time off that it will give an employee. However, such time can’t include any regular meal breaks. (Kan. Stat. Ann. Section 25-418)

    18. Kentucky- Employees are allowed up to four hours unpaid time off to vote. The statute requires a reasonable amount of leave time but states that it can’t be less than four hours. The employee must give the employer notice prior to election day. The employer may specify the time off given to the employee. Also, it should be noted that Kentucky statutes allow an employer to discipline an employee if time off to vote is taken but no vote is cast. (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann Section 118.035; Ky. Const. Section 148)

    19. Louisiana – There is no state law regarding employee time off to vote, although two statutes, La. R. S. 23:961 and La. R. S. 23:962, prohibiting employers from taking adverse action against employees for engaging in political activity are interpreted to mean that employers must treat requests for time off to vote the same as requests for time off for all other reasons.

    20. Maine – There is no state law regarding employee time off to vote.

    21. Maryland – An employee is allowed up to two hours to vote if the polls aren’t open two consecutive hours outside the employee’s regular shift. The time off is paid with proof that the employee voted. (Md. Code Ann. Section 10-315)

    22. Massachusetts – Employees in manufacturing, mechanical, or mercantile establishments are allowed time off during the first two hours after the polls have opened only if time off has been requested in advance. The statute doesn’t state whether the time off is paid or unpaid. (Mass. Gen. Laws Chapter 149, Section 178)

    23. Michigan – There is no state law regarding employee time off to vote.

    24. Minnesota – An employee has a right to be absent from work for the purpose of voting “during the morning of” election day. This time off is paid. (Minn. Stat. Section 204C.04)

    25. Mississippi – There is no state law regarding employee time off to vote, although there is a non-coercion statute, Miss. Code Ann. Section 23-15-871, that is interpreted to mean not allowing employees time off to vote would be unlawful coercion.

    26. Missouri – An employee is given up to three hours leave to vote, unless the employee has three consecutive non-working hours in which to vote while polls are open. The employee must request leave prior to election day, and the employer may designate the time that the employee is given off from work. This time off is paid. (Mo. Rev. Stat. Section 115.639)

    27. Montana – There is no state law regarding employee time off to vote.

    28. Nebraska – If polls aren’t open two consecutive hours outside an employee’s regular shift, the employee is allowed up to two hours to vote. The employee must request leave prior to election day, and the employer may specify the time of day that the employee may take time off to vote. This leave is paid. (Neb. Rev. Stat. Section 115.639)

    29. Nevada – If polls aren’t open a “sufficient” amount of time during an employee’s non-working hours, the employee is allowed anywhere from one to three hours to vote. “Sufficient” time depends on the distance between the employer and the employee’s polling site. The employee must make a request prior to election day for the time off, and the employer may specify the time of day the employee may take to vote. This leave is paid. (Nev. Rev. Stat. Section 293.463)

    30. New Hampshire – There is no state law regarding employee time off to vote.

    31. New Jersey – There is no state law regarding employee time off to vote.

    32. New Mexico – Employees may have up to two hours of leave to vote, unless their work day begins more than two hours after the polls open or ends more than three hours before the polls close. The employer may designate the time of day when the employee can take the leave. The statute doesn’t state whether this time off is paid, but the employer may not impose a “penalty” on the employee for taking the time off. It should be noted that the New Mexico Attorney General has taken the position for years that the time off is paid, and some lower courts have agreed. (N.M. Stat. Ann. Section 1-12-42)

    33. New York – An employee is allowed “sufficient time” to vote if polls aren’t open four consecutive hours outside the employee’s regular shift. The employee must notify the employer of the need for time off at least two but not more than ten working days prior to the election, and the employer may specify whether the employee takes time off at the beginning or end of the shift. Employers must post a conspicuous notice of employee rights at least ten days before election day. If an employee has four consecutive hours either before the opening of the polls and the beginning of a working shift, or between the end of a working shift and the closing of the polls, the employee isn’t entitled to any paid time. If there aren’t four consecutive hours before or after the regular working shift, the employee is entitled to up to two hours paid time off at the beginning or end of the shift. (N.Y. Election Law Sections 3-110 and 17-118)

    34. North Carolina – There is no state law regarding employee time off to vote.

    35. North Dakota – State law encourages employers to provide time off to vote when the employee’s regular work schedule conflicts with voting while the polls are open. (N.D. Cent. Code Section 16.1-01-02.1)

    36. Ohio – Employees may take a “reasonable amount of time” to vote on election day. The statute doesn’t say whether the time off is paid or unpaid. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. Section 3599.06)

    37. Oklahoma – Employees who are registered to vote must be allowed up to two hours time off to vote on election day during a time when the polls are open. An employee must receive “sufficient time” to vote if more than two hours are required to vote. The employee must notify the employer the day before the election if time off to vote is needed, and the employer may specify what time the employee is given to take time off. The time off is paid with proof of voting. An employee is excluded if the work day begins three hours or more after the polls open or ends three hours or more before the polls close. The employer may change the regular work schedule so that an employee will have the required three consecutive non-working hours off to vote. The employer must notify the employee which hours can be used to vote. (Okla. Stat. Ann. Title 26, Chapter 7-101)

    38. Oregon – There is no state law regarding employee time off to vote.

    39. Pennsylvania – There is no state law regarding employee time off to vote.

    40. Puerto Rico – The day of the general election is a legal holiday in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Employers in continuous operation on the day of the election must establish shifts that will allow employees to go to the polls to vote between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. The statute does not address whether the time is paid. (P.R. Stat. Tit. 16 Sections 3204 and 3237).

    41. Rhode Island – There is no state law regarding employee time off to vote.

    42. South Carolina – There is no state law regarding employee time off to vote.

    43. South Dakota – An employee is allowed to take time off to vote if polls aren’t open two consecutive hours outside the employee’s regular shift. The employer may specify the time that the employee is given off to vote. This time off is paid. (S.D. Codified Laws Section 12-3-5)

    44. Tennessee – An employee is given a reasonable period of time off to vote, not to exceed three hours, unless work is begun three or more hours after the polls open or ends three or more hours before the polls close. The employee must give notice of the need for time off to vote at least before 12:00 p.m. on the day prior to the election. The employer may specify the time off that the employee is given to vote. This time off is paid. (Tenn. Code Ann. Section 2-1-106)

    45. Texas – The employee is allowed reasonable time off to vote if the polls aren’t open two consecutive hours outside the employee’s regular shift. This time off is paid. (Tex. Elec. Code Ann. Section 276.004)

    46. Utah – An employee may take up to two hours of leave to vote, unless there are three or more non-working hours in which to vote. The employee must request leave prior to election day. The employer may specify the time off that the employee is given to vote. However, the employer must grant the employee’s request for leave at the beginning or end of the regular work shift. The time off is paid. (Utah Code Ann. Section 20A-3-103)

    47. Vermont – There is no state law regarding employee time off to vote.

    48. Virginia – There is no state law regarding employee time off to vote.

    49. Washington – Employers must ensure that employees have time to vote. If an employee’s schedule doesn’t provide at least two hours before or after work when the polls are open, the employee must be given “reasonable time up to two hours” in which to vote, not including meal or rest breaks. However, if an employee’s work schedule for election day is announced sufficiently in advance so that the employee may obtain an absentee ballot, the provisions of the statute don’t apply. This leave is paid. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. Section 49.28.120)

    50. West Virginia – Employees are provided up to three hours leave if a written request for time off is made at least three days prior to election day. If the employee works in essential government, health, hospital, transportation, communication services, or is in an industry requiring continuous operations, the employer may specify the time off for an employee to vote. The time off is paid unless the employee has three or more non-working hours in which to vote, and the employee fails to use those non-working hours to vote. (W.Va. Code Ann. Section 3-1-42)

    51. Wisconsin – Employees are allowed up to three hours to vote if the request for time off is made prior to election day. The employer may specify the time to be taken by the employee to vote. This time off is unpaid. (Wis. Stat. Ann. Section 6.76)

    52. Wyoming – Employees may take one hour to vote, excluding meal times. An employee won’t be given the time off if there are three or more consecutive non-working hours in which to vote. The statute doesn’t require the employee to give advance notice of time off. It does permit the employer to specify the time off that it will give to an employee to vote. This time off is paid. (Wyo. Stat. Ann. Section 22-2-111)

  18. csdiego says:

    My polls open at 7, and I’m going to get there as early as I can and hope for the best. We’re not a battleground state, but there’s a lot of enthusiasm here so I still predict turnout will be high.

    I have to be at work, 45 minutes away, by 10 at the latest. After work I have a class, near work, that doesn’t get out until 9, an hour after the polls close at 8. So yeah, all I can do is hope it’s not too Godawfully crowded.

    I could have done early absentee voting, but that would have meant going downtown, 45 minutes each way in the opposite direction from work, between 8:30 and 4:45 on weekdays. Not really a viable option.

  19. samurailynn says:

    I didn’t know employers were ever supposed to give you paid time off to vote. I just thought they weren’t allowed to deny you time off on voting day if you requested it in order to vote.

  20. caederus says:

    Given that the polls in Maryland are open 7AM-8PM getting 2 consecutive hours outside of your work hours is relativly easy unless your working more than 11 hours.

    • little stripes says:

      @caederus: Or you have kids or school or other obligations or you have a long commute to work…

      I mean … people don’t just work and come home. People have other things going on in their lives.

      • tande04 says:

        @little stripes: And in this case voting is going to have to be one of the “other things” going on in their lives.

        Kinda sucks for Maryland…

        Ours is 3 consecutive hours and polls only stay open ’til 7 so the normal 8-5 will get you an hour to vote. Also looks like I’m in one of the few states that require it to be paid. Bonus.

      • dreamsneverend says:

        @little stripes: Absentee vote next time for them I guess. It’s crazy people are making excuses because they are too lazy to hop on the net or call their local supervisor a month or so before the election to have the postman bring one to their own home.

        • floraposte says:

          @rainmkr: In my state, absentee ballots are granted for cause, not just for voter choice. And one of the causes isn’t “my employer is breaking the law and refusing to let me take time to vote.”

          I’m with those who are saying it’s a moot point whether people think there should be such a law–since there is, employers are required to honor it. If people want to support the idea that companies can break laws when it’s convenient for them, they’ve pretty much lost a leg to stand on when they’re screwed over by those companies as consumers.

    • Mary says:

      @caederus: Actually, for one of my co-workers it’s impossible. She’s having to take time off in the middle of the day, unpaid, because she is registered in Maryland and no matter what time of day you try to make that drive it’s about 45 minutes each way. Factor in standing in line and the fact that she has class and work…it’s just nearly impossible.

      I’m leaving work early because my commute is so long. That’s the price you pay living and working where I do, but I expect the traffic to be bad and I’m not going to risk it. Technically both of us could have voted absentee, yes. But should we really have to do that?

      • crazybutch says:

        @Meiran: well, no one’s saying you “have” to vote, either. you do what needs to be done if you want to vote.

        • Mary says:

          @crazybutch: I think the entire point of our system of government is to make sure that people make all reasonable efforts to not infringe or impede someone’s ability to vote.

          Some companies do not make it easy when they could with no cost or problem for them.

          Maybe not everyone has to vote. But everyone has to have the opportunity. And they shouldn’t have to go through hardship to do it, ever. Otherwise, we stop being the country we’re meant to be.

  21. ironchef says:

    I got jury duty that day. I hope the judge gives us a break.

  22. oregongal says:

    Or move to a state where you vote by mail. I voted 10 days ago. What a breeze it was … the process that is, not the issues. Oy vey!

    • Roy Hobbs says:

      @oregongal: Ditto for me. Love Washington State’s approach. Well, except for the fact that we won’t know who won for 2 weeks because the vote counting is so screwed up.

  23. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    NC – we had early voting the last couple of weeks. i went on a thursday in the early afternoon – and waited an hour in line. it was nice to see the turnout considering that the last presidential election here i went after work around 6:30 pm with no early voting and there were only ten people.

    the state kept having to open new early voting locations and extending the hours, and then even had a last minute mandate that the polling places had to stay open an extra four hours on 11/1, the last day of early voting, so that everyone who could only vote on saturdays had a chance.
    potentially that relates to the fact that we don’t have the legal right for time off to vote

  24. bobpence says:

    The problem in my metro area is that so many people have a 1-2 hour commute each way, and voting places tend to be where you live, not where you work. At my office we generally either go to the polls very early or leave earlier than usual to make it to the polls. This year I voted absentee because I believe the hype about the huge turnout.

  25. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    I’m taking the WHOLE DAY off tomorrow. I’m a firm believer that Election Day should be a paid day off.

  26. Notsewfast says:

    This does not help anyone, so Meg I apologize in advance.

    Early voting = Best thing ever.

  27. Starfury says:

    My wife and I do absentee ballots for every election and we always mail it in early. I ignore the TV/Radio/Print ads and will READ the information sent to me before making a decision. I am in California but get off work 4 hours before the polls close so probably won’t be able to sneak out 2 hours early. Rats.

  28. SadSam says:

    I vote that we hold elections on the weekends like most other civilized countries. Tuesday doesn’t make sense to me, especially when many of our polling places are at public schools that are also open on Tuesday. The traffic at these schools in the morning is crazy!!

    • selianth says:

      @SadSam: In the town where I grew up, most of the elementary schools were also polling places, and there would be no school Presidential election days. I don’t know that they can do that any more with the time in learning requirements, but it was nice to get that one random day in November off.

    • Corporate-Shill says:

      @SadSam: At least you are voting at a school. I vote at the County Work Center… a nice name for the place that houses the trustees of the County Jail.

  29. hills says:

    I love my new city – Portland, Oregon – we (almost) all vote by mail! Filled my ballot out in my kitchen, laptop open, checking candidates/issues…. love it!

  30. sleze69 says:

    Get rid of Columbus Day and replace it with Election Day as a national holiday. Enough said.

  31. jeffs3rd says:

    Just got a memo today that we may take up to two hours to go and vote. This works out for me. We have a 16 month old and if I can go during work, that means my wife can go after work and I can watch the kid, instead of having a fussy, wanting to play 16 month old in line with us for possibly two hours.

  32. bsalamon says:

    as bad as it sounds, most polls are open until 9, 10pm and are open around 6, or 7am.

  33. ajlei says:

    I’m so glad Oregon has vote by mail! I turned my ballot in last week, takes the stress off my back.

  34. Sathallrin says:

    I voted last week, just went into the town hall and asked for a ballot and voted right then. There were a few other people doing the same thing at the time.

  35. Garbanzo says:

    My employer sent email to all US employees saying that since long lines are predicted in many locations, managers should be flexible about arrival and departure times on Tuesday. I’ll vote on my way to work and get in when I get in.

  36. ThinkerTDM says:

    Listen up, people- you make time for things that are important to you. Expecting paid time off from work because you have “other” obligations- please! Tell me, what is more important than ensuring your – and your childrens- freedoms?

    • spanky says:

      @ThinkerTDM: That must be easy to say when you have the option of making time for voting.

      There is serious voter supression going on in this election, whether it’s intentional or not. There are a lot of people out there–particularly the working poor–who work very long hours, sometimes two or more jobs, and can’t afford to lose wages waiting in long lines to vote.

      I have it easy. I make my own hours, and my middle class suburb had no lines at all for early voting. I went a couple of times, to vote myself, and to give someone else a ride, and you’d just walk in, get your ballot, and vote. In and out in a few minutes. But just a few miles away in Denver and other areas, even early voting lines can take hours.

      Nobody should have to prove their dedication by ‘making time’ or waiting in multi-hour long lines. Voting should be easy and convenient for everyone.

      • tande04 says:

        @spanky: It isn’t some nebulus issue of right or wrong or being able to budget your time or not.

        If your state requires employers to give time off (paid or not paid) and they don’t its no different then if they break any other labor law.

  37. snoop-blog says:

    I’ll just be honest here. I just hate my job. Any time I can not be there, and not get fired, plus get paid is a win for me. I really don’t see a problem with that.

  38. Valhawk says:

    The thing that I find funny about this is that unless your in a battleground states their is about a 50% chance your vote tomorrow is meaningless. For example, voting Republican in Massachusetts does not mean squat becuase it will go Blue regardless, just like voting Democratic in Texas.

    So the only thing that will really matter are house and senate seats with no incumbents and ballot propositions.

  39. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    I gave my students the day off class to vote. I have two Tuesday classes both chock full of fresh-faced 18-year-olds SO EXCITED to vote since this is their first time. After several asked me concernedly what they’d miss because they’d heard lines would be long and they didn’t know how long voting would take, I decided to cancel class so they could all go vote. That’s probably a more important lesson than anything I’d teach that day. All but two of them say they’re voting — one isn’t a citizen, and the other’s just lazy. I’m so proud of them. :)

  40. Sir Winston Thriller says:

    Well, he’s sorta right. In Vermont we don’t get time off to vote in elections, but your employer has to give you time off for Town Meeting instead.

  41. Powerlurker says:

    I’m in Texas and voted two weeks ago, it was quite convenient.

  42. Ragman says:

    After standing in line for >2 hours in Nov 2000, I early vote in every election now. Not to mention that my polling place wanders from election to election. Early voting is always at the same place in my city.

  43. The_IT_Crone says:

    Well, the law in my state (MN) is that you HAVE to be given paid time off to vote… but you HAVE to let them know ahead of time.

    To those who think getting the hours free to vote is easy, try working while going to school. Or working without a car, so you’d have to bus back and forth. Or having to work then pick up the kids then… Etc. Just because it’s easy for YOU doesn’t mean it’s easy for EVERYONE.

  44. icust298 says:

    The consumerist, full of people that want to fight for consumers rights and 6 people that care about workers rights. Take the time off and go vote, it’s more important than surfing the internet at work.

  45. Youthier says:

    I’m not sure I get this “I have kids” arguement. Everytime I go to vote, there’s a ton of damn kids running around and screaming. According to my paper’s voting FAQ, children under 18 are welcome in the voting booth with you. Thanks paper!

  46. Mary says:

    What really stinks is working at the university recently named the most politically active in the country, smack in the CAPITAL of the whole country, and not getting paid time off to vote.

    I understand they want all the bases covered, but really? How can D.C. not have laws regarding this? How do we have Inauguration Day off of work and not Election Day?

    Especially when you consider the extremely lengthy commutes of most people who work there.

  47. Bryan Price says:

    As a stay at home dad, paid time off to vote is an interesting idea.

    That said, I early voted two weeks ago as soon as it was available here in Florida.

  48. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I’m in the “Make Election Day a holiday or make it Election Weekend” camp. I also think that all 50 states should have early voting.

    You can’t just vote before or after work when work is 3+ hours away from where you live.

  49. guspaz says:

    Wow, for a country that likes to spread democracy, the US is pretty backwards.

    Here in Canada, the right to time off work to vote is a *FEDERAL* law. Uniform across the country.

    The law grants all citizens three consecutive hours to vote. If the employee’s work schedule does not allow for that after work (as in, if they live in a province where the polls close at 7 or 7:30PM), then the employer is required to give them time off. That only requires that the employer let the employee come in late or leave early, but many companies let employees vote during the day.

    Also, it takes about 4 hours for us to count the vote nation-wide, and the system used would scale up to a country the size of the US without any increase in time since the process is parallelized.