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States Where Your Boss Can Stop You From Voting In Federal Elections

There are 20 states where, if you are an employee of a company that requires you to be at work during the time when voting takes place on Election Day, you don’t have the right to vote. Your boss can, in these states, order to you be at work for the entire time when the polls are open. If you’re in this kind of situation, and you go and vote during the hours you’ve been ordered to work, or even agitate for the right to vote, you can be fired from your job.

Theoretically, an absentee ballot might be a solution in such cases, but an absentee ballot usually needs to be applied for well in advance of Election Day, and in these days of work schedules that are determined at the last minute, a worker might not know that they’re being required to work on Election Day until it’s too late. Besides, many states don’t allow an exemption for an absentee ballot because of work requirements. So, in states where people don’t have the right to leave work to vote, a boss who wanted to swing an election could order employees to stay at work all day on Election Day.

The following are the 20 states where workers don’t have the right to vote: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

Voters in the District of Columbia, our own nation’s capital, also don’t have the right to go vote on Election Day.

On Friday, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright, from Pennsylvania’s 17th district, introduced H.R. 3038, also known as the Time Off To Vote Act. The legislation requires bosses to allow their workers to have 2 hours of paid leave to go vote on Election Day for federal elections.

“Voting should not be a luxury that only the well-off can afford,” Cartwright said, announcing the bill.

Two hours of time once every two years isn’t too much to ask, when that time is given in the preservation of democracy in the United States. So far, however, the Time Off To Vote Act has only 19 cosponsors.

It’s almost as if most members of Congress don’t want to make it possible for more Americans to vote.

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