Election Day is coming up soon, and with it, millions will be voting for the President of the United States alongside other offices, local government, and state and city initiatives. If you are employed, you may feel it difficult to navigate this time of the year. Early voting is available in many states, but for those who want to vote on Election Day, you have rights if you are employed. I’ve created this list of What You Need to Know for Election Day at Work in order to help educate working parents on important information regarding voting.
Your job must give you time off to vote
Almost every state has applicable laws for voting during the workday. Because polling places operate during work hours, many states require that employees have sufficient time to vote during these hours, and cannot penalize you for doing so.
Check with your HR manager to see what time constraints may be at play with the company. You can also consult this website which gives you a State by State rundown of time off to vote laws. If your employer gives you trouble, share this link with them.
It is against the law for an employer to impede your right to vote. For instance, in my state of Missouri, an employer must give an employee up to three (3) hours paid leave to vote, without penalty or discipline (with prior notice to the employer). Any employer that fails to do so is breaking the state law and could be charged with interference, which is a class four offense.
Can you wear ‘I voted’ stickers at your job?
Yes and no. There are no laws on the books (that I am aware of) that prohibit you from wearing these stickers in your place of employ. But the company that you work for can ban these from being worn if they want. I haven’t heard of many employers opting to do the latter, but if you are working in a type of place with uniforms or a standard dress code, you could be violating it by wearing the stickers. When in doubt, see a manager or consult HR. Or simply, don’t wear them while at work.
Canvassing for votes at work
Unless you work at a polling place, candidates and their supporters are unable to picket, share handbills, and other information while in the premises or nearby. They must remain so many feet away from the building or place of business, and are prohibited from harassing others. If you see any conduct like this while at work, report it to your manager immediately.
Who did you vote for?
I would avoid this question totally while at work, as it is has nothing to do with your job (in most cases). I am a firm believer that politics and work don’t play well together. Each election season, I am sent a barrage of emails asking about whether I feel it’s okay to talk about political candidates while in the workplace.
Who you vote for is your personal choice and does not have to be shared with those that you work with. You do not have to join in any conversations about the election or your vote.
It’s best to let this topic be one for after work.
No. Not in your office, workspace, or desk, unless you work for a political candidate (or work for a company that encourages it). Doing so may also be against employee rules.
Can I work at a polling place on election day?
You can, but that would depend on your employer. If you have available sick or personal time, you may have to use that in order to subsidize the time being missed.
If you have any further questions not covered by this post, please feel free to leave a comment below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more Election Day at Work related inquires, check your Secretary of State website, or local Election Board for more information on your state’s Time off to Vote policies and laws.