Law Allows 2 Hours off for Employees on Election Day

If you're one of those people who already struggle to balance a complicated work and home life, then scheduling time to vote may feel like a logistical nightmare. Maybe it irks you that we still vote on weekdays at all. Why Tuesday, right?

You may not know it, but there's a legal, fair solution. By law you are allowed to take up to two hours paid leave to visit your polling place and cast a ballot. The Secretary of State released a statement this week to remind voters of this option.

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"State law recognizes that work schedules are less flexible for some voters," Secretary Debra Bowen wrote. "To ensure that all voters can participate in the democratic process on June 5, workers have the right to take some time off from work to cast their ballots."

Keep in mind you can also vote by mail. That means you can complete your ballot while on the bus, waiting to see the doctor, hunched over your desk in the wee hours of the night -- wherever and whenever you can steal the time. Just be sure to get your application in to your county elections official by Tuesday, May 29. Your sample ballot should have an application form, or you can download one from the Secretary of State's website.

You can also cast a provisional ballot if for some reason you are unable to reach your designated polling place on Election Day. Just go to any polling location and ask for one. Once they confirm you are a registered voter, your vote will be counted. You can even check the status of your ballot online to be sure.

About the Author

Web Editor for SoCal Connected, KCET's award-winning television newsmagazine. He has worked in just about every medium, with stories appearing on TV, radio, Web, and print. He is also the editor of the Online Journalism Review at ...
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