Election Day is nearly upon us. Next Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents will take to the polls from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. to vote for their favorite candidate…or at least the one that they dislike the least. You can find out where you should vote at this easy to use link.
Any Time Off Required?
One question that arises from time to time: Do employers in Connecticut need to provide employees with time off to vote?
31states offer this type of protection. However, Connecticut isn’t one of them.
What does that mean? It means employers can insist that employees vote during non-working hours and have no legal obligation to provide time off to employees to vote.
However, a reminder to employees about the polls being open and that they should vote either before or after their particular shift or work hours is certainly appropriate.
No "Threats" To Employees
Connecticut does have one peculiar law, however, that prevents employers from interfering with an employee’s vote. Specifically Conn. Gen. Stat. 9-365 states:
Any person who, at or within sixty days prior to any election…attempts to influence the vote of any operative in his employ by threats of withholding employment from him or by promises of employment or who dismisses any operative from his employment on account of any vote he has given at any such election or meeting shall be [fined or imprisoned].
Despite this law being on the books for nearly 60 years, don’t expect to find much, if any caselaw or commentary on it. Yet, employers should still avoid the appearance of suggesting how to vote to employees. (Employers cannot provide misleading information about the vote either.)
Remind Employees of "Bill of Rights"
Employers can feel free to remind employees of their "Bill of Rights" for voting. Connecticut set up these rules and summarized them in a document here. Among the more noteworthy rules that employees should know of is their right to vote when they are "in line" at the time the polls close.
Reviewing the state’s laws on elections also reveals some other interesting quirks and trivial details. For example, voting areas must have have a United States flag on the wall (Connecticut’s flag is optional), and a telephone. (And no United Nations Flags are allowed.)
No matter your political affiliation, remember to exercise your right to vote on Tuesday and encourage your employees to do the same.