Time Off to Vote Laws by State

Low voter turnout in major elections remains a huge issue in the United States. The 2016 Presidential Election saw a 55.7% voter turnout – ranking 26th internationally when compared to recent general elections in 32 other highly developed, democratic nations.

One of the most common reasons cited for low turnout is the lack of time registered voters have on Election Day (always a Tuesday) to actually vote. Many younger professionals are unable to excuse themselves from their jobs to cast a ballot.

However, many states have laws in place that enable registered voters to take time off to vote on Election Day. Because this information is, unfortunately, difficult to find for some states, we compiled every state’s laws into one convenient, interactive visual format, along with other information relevant to voter’s rights in the workplace.

Key Facts about Voting During Work Hours

Interactive Map: Which States Allow Employees to Take Time Off From Work to Vote?

Hover over each state for more information.

Some States Require Advance Notice Before Time Off is Approved

Advance notice is required in 18 states. However, the circumstances can vary from state to state, including the length of advance notice required and the process by which notice is given. Hover over each state to see the specifics for advance notice for taking time off to vote.

You May Be Paid for Your Time Off Spent Voting

Of these states, 22 require that any time taken to vote must be paid. The specific amount may vary from state to state, ranging from one hour to three consecutive hours. Some states may have provisions that allow employers to specify an exact time they may be excused, while others may simply require employers to give “a reasonable amount of time” to vote. Interestingly, Ohio only allows salaried employees to be paid for time taken off for voting – the only state in the country to do so.

You May Be Required to Show Proof of Voting

5 states require voters to verify they have cast their ballots if they take time off. If not, the consequences can include disciplinary action, or a deduction of those hours from your pay. Three states actually require proof of voting in order to be paid for the time off: Wyoming, Missouri, and West Virginia.

Please consult your employer to determine what qualifies as adequate proof that you have voted.

Time off to Vote Laws by State: A Deeper Look at all 50 States

StateStatuteTime Off Required?How Much?Time Off Paid or Unpaid?Advance Notice Required?Proof of Voting Required?
Alabama Alabama Act 2006-545YesOne hourLaw does not specify, so likely unpaid.Yes, with reasonable noticeNo
Alaska Alaska Stat. §15.56.100YesNot Specified in StatutePaidNoNo
ArizonaAriz. Rev. Stat. § 16-402YesThree consecutive hoursPaidYes, one day before the electionNo
ArkansasArk. Code Ann. 7-1-102YesEmployers must schedule work hours so that each employee has an opportunity to voteUnpaidNoNo
CaliforniaCal. Elec. Code § 14000YesUp to two hoursPaidYes, two working days before electionNo
ColoradoColo. Rev. Stat. § 1-7-102YesUp to two hoursPaid, up to two hours.NoNo
ConnecticutN/ANoNo laws require employers to give workers time off to vote.N/AN/AN/A
DelawareN/ANoEmployee who has accrued vacation time and is not in a “critical need” position may serve as an election officer without reprisal by the employer.N/AN/AN/A
FloridaN/ANoNo laws require employers to give workers time off to vote.N/AN/AN/A
Georgia Ga. Code Ann. § 21-2-404YesUp to two hoursPaidNoNo
HawaiiHaw. Rev. Stat. § 11-95YesTwo consecutive hoursPaidNoYes. Employee must show voting receipt or employers may deduct hours off from pay.
IdahoNoNoNo laws require employers to give workers time off to vote.N/AN/AN/A
Illinois 10 Ill. Comp. Stat. §§ 5/7-42; 5/17-15YesTwo hoursUnpaidYes, one day before the electionNo
IndianaN/ANoNo laws require employers to give workers time off to vote.N/AN/AN/A
IowaIowa Code § 49.109YesUp to three consecutive hours when combined with nonworking timePaidYes, in writing prior to the electionNo
KansasKan. Stat. Ann § 25-418YesUp to two hours. Employer may specificy time during the day when employee may vote, unless they use their lunch hour.PaidNoNo
KentuckyKy. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 118.035YesNot less than four hoursUnpaidYes, one day before the electionEmployees that take time off but do not vote are subject to disciplinary action
LouisianaN/ANoNo laws require employers to give workers time off to vote.N/AN/AN/A
MaineN/ANoNo laws require employers to give workers time off to vote.N/AN/AN/A
MarylandMd. Code 1957 Art. 33 § 10-315YesTwo hoursPaidYesNo
MassachusettsMass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, §178YesThe first two hours that the polls are openUnpaidEmployee must apply for leave of absenceNo
MichiganN/ANoNo laws require employers to give workers time off to vote.N/AN/AN/A
MinnesotaMinn Stat. Ann. § 204C.04YesEmployees eligible to vote have the right to be absent for the time necesseary to appear at a polling place, vote and return to workPaidNoNo
MississippiN/ANoNo laws require employers to give workers time off to vote.N/AN/AN/A
MissouriMo. Rev. Stat § 115.639YesThree hoursPaid, but employee must voteYes, prior to election dayEmployee must vote to be paid
MontanaN/ANoNo laws require employers to give workers time off to vote.N/AN/AN/A
NebraskaNeb. Rev. Stat. § 32-922YesUp to two hours when combined with nonworking timePaidYes, prior to or on election dayNo
NevadaNev. Rev. Stat. Ann § 293.463YesTime off determined by workplace distance to polling place:  Two miles or less= One hour   Two to Ten miles = Two hours  More than ten miles = Three hoursPaidYes, prior to election dayNo
New HampshireN/ANoNo laws require employers to give workers time off to vote.N/AN/AN/A
New JerseyN/ANoNo laws require employers to give workers time off to vote.N/AN/AN/A
New MexicoN.M. Stat. Ann. § 1-12-42YesTwo HoursPaidNoNo
New YorkN.Y. Elec. Law § 3-110YesAs much time as needed when combined with nonworking timePaid, up to two hoursYes, not more than 10 or less than 2 working days before the election.No
North CarolinaN/ANoNo laws require employers to give workers time off to vote.N/AN/AN/A
North DakotaN/ANoEmployers are encouraged to establish programs that allow employee’s to voteUnpaidNoNo
OhioOhio Rev. Code Ann. § 3599.06YesA reasonable amount of timePaid only for salaried employeesNoNo
OklahomaOkla. Stat. Ann. tit. 26, § 7-101YesTwo hours.  If the polling place is too far away to vote within two hours, employees may take off sufficient time.PaidYes, one day before the election. Orally or in writingYes
OregonN/ANoNo laws require employers to give workers time off to vote.N/AN/AN/A
PennsylvaniaN/ANoNo laws require employers to give workers time off to vote.N/AN/AN/A
Rhode IslandN/ANoNo laws require employers to give workers time off to vote.N/AN/AN/A
South Carolina N/ANoNo laws require employers to give workers time off to vote.N/AN/AN/A
South DakotaS.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 12-3-5YesTwo consecutive hoursPaidNoNo
TennesseeTenn. Code Ann. § 2-1-106YesUp to three hoursPaidYes, before noon on Election DayNo
TexasTex. Elec. Code Ann. § 276.004YesNo time limit specifiedPaidNoNo
UtahUtah Code Ann. § 20A-3-103YesTwo hours at the beginning or end of shiftPaidYes, before election dayNo
VermontN/ANoNo laws require employers to give workers time off to vote.N/AN/AN/A
VirginiaN/ANoNo laws require employers to give workers time off to vote.N/AN/AN/A
WashingtonN/ANoNo laws require employers to give workers time off to vote.N/AN/AN/A
West VirginiaW. Va. Code § 3-1-42YesUp to three hoursPaid (if employee votes)Yes, written request at least three days before electionEmployee must vote to be paid
WisconsinWis. Stat. Ann. § 6.76YesUp to three consecutive hoursUnpaidYes, before election dayNo
WyomingWyo. Stat. § 22-2-111YesOne hour outside meal breakPaid (if employee votes)NoEmployee must vote to be paid

 

Mathew and George is an employment law and workplace sexual harassment firm based in Los Angeles.