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What if your employer won't let you vote?

Posted by: James Eli Shiffer under Polling problems Updated: November 2, 2010 - 5:37 PM

A woman (who understandably doesn't want to be identified) asks this Election Day question: "What do you do if your employer says you can’t leave early to vote?" She wanted to vote at lunchtime, but her boss said no.

Here's what state law requires. It used to require employers to let employees vote only in the morning of election day, but the law is now more inclusive:


Subdivision 1.Right to be absent.

Every employee who is eligible to vote in an election has the right to be absent from work for the time necessary to appear at the employee's polling place, cast a ballot, and return to work on the day of that election, without penalty or deduction from salary or wages because of the absence. An employer or other person may not directly or indirectly refuse, abridge, or interfere with this right or any other election right of an employee.

Subd. 2.Elections covered.

 For purposes of this section, "election" means a regularly scheduled state primary or general election, an election to fill a vacancy in the office of United States senator or United States representative, or an election to fill a vacancy in the office of state senator or state representative.

Subd. 3.Penalty.

A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor, and the county attorney shall prosecute the violation

The Secretary of State's office advises that it's up to county attorneys to investigate and prosecute violations of this law. Does your employer let you get out to vote?




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