Election Day is nearly upon us.
But unlike prior years, many Connecticut residents have already voted, thanks to the pandemic-related absentee ballot system uage.
Still, next Tuesday, our fellow citizens will still take to the polls from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. to vote for their favorite candidate. You can find out where you should vote at this easy to use link.
Any Time Off Required?
In the last decade, we’ve seen more and more employers offer the day off to vote.
But here in Connecticut, the question that arises is: Do employers need to provide employees with time off to vote?
Many states offer this type of protection. However, Connecticut isn’t one of them.
Practically speaking, that 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. Even better, allow employees to take personal time to vote if they wish, or be like other companies and offer employees at least a few hours to vote without penalty.
Your democracy will thank you for it.
No “Threats” To Employees
Connecticut does have one peculiar law, however, that makes it a crime for employers to interfere with an employee’s vote. Specifically Conn. Gen. Stat. 9-365 states:
Any person who (1) during the period that is sixty days or less prior to any election, municipal meeting, school district election or school district meeting, attempts to influence the vote of any operative in his or her employ by threats of withholding employment from him or her or by promises of employment, or (2) dismisses any operative from his or her employment on account of any vote he or she has given at any such election or meeting shall be guilty of a class D felony.
The law was strengthened in 2012, yet don’t expect to find much on the books about this. Still, 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 (minimum of 3×5 feet) 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 next Tuesday and encourage your employees to do the same.