Election Day: Employers’ Voting Responsibilities

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6, 2018, and employers must take note of their legal obligations to not interfere with employees’ voting rights as doing so can result in fines and even possible jail time in many states. States have wide latitude to establish voting protocols and laws that impact employers. Here’s an overview of a few states’ laws regarding employee voting rights.

Arizona

Employers must provide up to three hours of paid time off to enable an employee to vote in a primary or general election if the employee has less than three hours either before or after work in which the polls are open so that the employee may vote. Employers can require that employees apply for voting leave prior to Election Day and can specify the hours that an employee may be absent to vote. Poll hours for Arizona: 6 am – 7 pm.

Colorado

Upon request the day before a general or municipal election, Colorado employers must provide employees who are registered to vote in a general election up to two hours off with pay if the employee does not have three or more non-scheduled work hours to vote while the polls are open. Employers may not discharge employees for taking time off, in accordance with the statute. The employer may specify the hours during which an eligible employee may absent himself, but such hours shall be at the beginning or ending of the work shift if the employer so requests. Poll hours for Colorado: 7 am – 7 pm.

Utah

An employee may take two hours away from work between the time of opening and the time of closing the polls to vote if they aren’t already off work at least three hours during the time the polls are open and they request the time off before Election Day. The employer may specify the hours during the period in which the employee may be absent, except if the employee requests time off at the beginning or end of the work shift, it must be granted. No wage deductions for the absence are allowed. The law does not apply to employees who have at least three non-working hours between their shift and the opening and closing of the polls. Poll hours for Utah: 7 am – 8 pm.

Wyoming

Any qualified voter at any primary or general election to fill a vacancy in the office of representatives in the Congress of the United States is entitled to have one hour to vote other than meal hours. That hour is at the convenience of the employer and the voter may not lose any pay because of taking an hour to actually vote. This voting leave does not apply to any employee who has three or more consecutive nonworking hours during the time polls are open. Poll hours for Wyoming: 7 am – 7 pm.

For voting information in all 50 states for Employers Council members, please click here. Employers Council members are encouraged to contact us for further assistance on this topic.