Your election day time-off rights: a state-by-state guide

Have to work on election day? Most states have laws in place to ensure employees get enough time off on the first Tuesday of November to vote in the US general election. Find yours below:

Election time-off statutes by state (alphabetical):

Alabama

If you’re qualified and registered to vote, you can take time off from work to vote in any election, unless your work hours start at least two hours after the polls open or end at least one hour before the polls close. Your employer can determine what hours are available for you to vote.

Alaska

If you don’t have enough time to vote before or after work (meaning you don’t have two hours between the opening of the polls and the beginning of your regular work hours, or two hours between the closing of the polls and then end of your regular work hours), then you can take as much paid time off as you need to vote.

Arizona

You need to apply to take leave to vote, and you have to have less than three hours between when the polls open and when your regular work hours begin, or between when the polls close and when your regular work hours end. If you meet both qualifications, then you can take paid leave from work at either the beginning or end of your shift. If your employer refuses to give you this time off, then he or she is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.

Arkansas

Your employer has to make a schedule that ensures that every employee has the chance to vote on Election Day. If your employer fails to comply than he or she will incur a small fine (no less than $25 but no more than $250).

California

If you’re eligible to vote, you can take time off at the beginning or end of your shift on Election Day, and up to two hours of that time off will be paid. Your employer is required to post a notice of this voting provision in a conspicuous place in your office at least 10 days before every statewide election.

Colorado

You can take up to two hours off work to vote at the beginning or end of your workday, if you give prior notice to your employer. If you start work three or more hours after the polls open, or end work three or more hours before the polls close, then this paid leave doesn’t apply to you.

Connecticut

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

District of Columbia

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Delaware

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Florida

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Georgia

If you give your employer prior notice, then you can take two hours off to vote in any election. If you start work at least two hours after the polls open, or end work at least two hours before the polls close, then you aren’t eligible to take time off to vote.

Hawaii

If you’re eligible to vote, then you’re entitled to two hours off work to vote (excluding lunch breaks and rest periods). If you happen to have a period of two consecutive hours between the opening and closing of the polls where you aren’t required to be at work, then you aren’t entitled to time off. You can get your time paid for by providing your employer with proof of voting.

Idaho

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Illinois

If you give your employer prior notice, then you’re entitled to two hours off work, unless you start work two or more hours after the polls open, or end work two or more hours before the polls close. A 2005 amendment to Illinois’s statute affirms that all time off for voting must be paid.

Indiana

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Iowa

If you’re eligible to vote, you’re allowed as much time off as necessary to give you three consecutive hours to vote. You must request this time off in writing, and this time off will be paid. If you already have a period of three or more consecutive hours off-duty in between the opening and closing of the polls, then you aren’t allowed additional time off.

Kansas

If you’re eligible and registered to vote, then you can leave work for up to two paid hours to do so. But, if the polls are open before or after your work shift, then you can only take such time off that, when added to the amount of time before or after work that the polls are open, doesn’t exceed two hours.

Kentucky

You can take up to four hours off to vote, but it isn’t paid and your employer can specify which hours you take off.

Louisiana

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Maine

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Maryland

If you don’t already have two or more consecutive hours of off-duty time when the polls are open, then you can take two hours paid time off work to vote. You also need to provide your employer with proof that you voted.

Massachusetts

If you work for a manufacturing, mechanical, or mercantile establishment, then you don’t have to work during the first two hours after the polls open, provided you apply for a leave of absence during this period.

Michigan

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Minnesota

You can take off as much time as you need to vote in any election, and your time off will be paid. If your employer doesn’t allow for this, then he or she is guilty of a misdemeanor and can be prosecuted by a county attorney.

Mississippi

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Missouri

If you give your employer prior notice, then you get three paid hours to vote. This only applies to you if you don’t already have three consecutive hours off-duty during the time the polls are open.

Montana

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Nebraska

If you give your employer prior notice, then you can take up to two paid hours to vote, and you’re allowed to decide when these hours will be. If you already have two consecutive off-duty hours when the polls are open, then this does not apply to you.

Nevada

If it’s impractical for you to vote before or after work, then you’re entitled to one to three paid hours, depending on the distance between your work and your polling station. You have to give your employer prior notice, and your employer can determine when you can leave.

New Hampshire

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote, but if you must be physically present at work or in transit to and from work during all polling hours, then you can apply to vote by absentee ballot.

New Jersey

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

New Mexico

If your workday begins within two hours of the polls opening and ends less than three hours before the polls close, then you’re entitled to up to two hours paid leave to vote in an election. However, your employer can set the time for leave.

New York

If you don’t have four consecutive hours off-duty between the polls opening and closing, or if you don’t have “sufficient” non-working time to vote, then you get up to two hours paid time off to vote. However, you have to request the leave between two and 10 days before election day, and your employer can determine whether the leave will be taken at the beginning or end of your shift.

North Carolina

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

North Dakota

The law encourages employers to set up a program to allow you to take time off to vote if your work schedule doesn’t normally allow for it, but this remains voluntary for employers, and there is no guaranteed right to be absent in North Dakota.

Ohio

Your employer can’t fire or threaten to fire you if you take a reasonable amount of time off to vote. If you’re a salaried employee, then this will be paid time off. If your employer violates this statute, then he or she can be fined $50 to $500.

Oklahoma

If you begin your work day less than three hours after the polls open, or finish your workday less than three hours before the polls close, then you’re entitled to two hours paid time off to vote (or sometimes more, depending on the distance between your work and your polling place). You have to give prior notice to your employer, and you’re allowed to decide when to take the two hours off.

Oregon

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote, as Oregon has a vote-by-mail system.

Pennsylvania

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Puerto Rico

Election day is a legal holiday and most people have the day off work. However, if your employer doesn’t give you the day off, then he or she must establish shifts allowing employees to go to the polls between 8am and 3pm.

Rhode Island

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

South Carolina

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

South Dakota

If you don’t have two consecutive off-duty hours when the polls are open, then you get up to two hours paid time off to vote. Your employer can decide when you get this time off.

Tennessee

If you start work less than three hours after polls open and finish work less than three hours before polls close, then you get up to three hours paid time off to vote. You have to request this leave by noon the day before Election Day, and your employer can decide when you get this time off.

Texas

If you don’t already have two consecutive off-duty hours when the polls are open, then you must be given sufficient paid time off to vote.

Utah

If you don’t have three consecutive off-duty hours when the polls are open, then you get up to two hours paid time off to vote. However, you need to request leave prior to Election Day. Your employer will specify when you get to leave, unless you specifically request to leave at the beginning or end of your shift.

Vermont

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Virginia

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Washington

Provisions for time off to vote were repealed in 2013 after Washington adopted a vote-by-mail system.

West Virginia

If you don’t have three consecutive off-duty hours when the polls are open, then you get up to three hours paid time off to vote. However, you have to request this in writing at least three days before Election Day.

Wisconsin

If you give your employer prior notice, then you can get up to three hours leave to go vote. However, your employer can chose to deduct pay for time lost, and they can also set the time of your leave to vote.

Wyoming

If you don’t already have three consecutive off-duty hours while the polls are open, then you get one hour of paid time off to vote. Your employer can set the time for leave to vote.

 

 

Regina Mullen
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Regina Mullen
Regina is the Workforce Management Expert & Content Marketing Associate for Replicon. Replicon provides award-winning products that make it easy to manage your workforce. With complete solution sets for client billing, project costing, and time and attendance management, Replicon enables the capture, administration, and optimization of your most underutilized and important asset: time.
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