Saturday, October 25, 2008

Political Hack - Get Paid (Or Time Off) to Vote

It's almost frightening to think that roughly half of all eligible voters in the United States didn't vote in the last two presidential elections (Source #1). 48.7% and 44.7% of the group neglected a chance to influence their government, and in turn, their own lives, in the 2000 and 2004 elections, respectively.  In actuality, many ignore this opportunity for good reason. In one-sided states such as California, there simply are better things to do than take the time to vote. School, work, and even fun take precedent over the voting process. Statistically, just less than 50% of non-voters disregarded the privilege due to conflicts or believing that their vote would not matter in the November 1998 elections (Source #2). Additionally, there are those who dislike the selected candidates and therefore withhold their ballot. If you are going to vote or are looking for a reason to, you'd benefit from checking your states "employee voting rights." 

Many states are required to provide compensation to workers (time, money, or both) if they do, in fact, choose to vote. The laws vary between states, with benefits ranging from time off, to paid time off, to both. Moreover, the time is precise at somewhere in between one and four hours or is vague, labeled as “sufficient time to vote.” Unfortunately, a few states do not have any laws in place regarding voting and employee rights. Nonetheless, in most cases the laws are advantageous to employees. For instance, in my home state of California, voters are allowed two hours of paid leave to cast their ballot at the polls. The only requirement is that the person notifies his superior at least two days prior to the election. Wily voters could even vote absentee and either go into work late or leave early on November 4th. It is important that you research you’re states rules though, before planning a shortened day.

For a full posting of your states' laws, you can check here.

Post-Script: Who are you voting for and why?

No comments: