Employers required to allow time to vote

Voting is a right in the United States, and Georgia state law ensures that work doesn’t get in the way of that right.

Georgia Code Section 21-2-404 states that employers must allow employees two hours to cast their vote in any municipal, county, state or federal political party primary or election. If the employee’s shift begins two hours after polling places open or ends two hours before polling places close, the employer does not have to allow time off.

Lynn Bailey, the director of the Richmond County Board of Elections, said she has never had any complaints about employers not allowing workers time off for voting.

“I think everyone works it around their work day,” said Barbara Jacobs, the office administrator for Martinez dentist Andrew Allgood.

Jacobs said she plans to vote on her way in to work, and Allgood usually does it on his lunch break. If you plan ahead, she said, there shouldn’t be any reason to leave the office.

“It’s not really an issue for us,” she said.

Ben Brewton, a partner at Tucker Everitt Long Brewton & Lanier law firm in Augusta, said his office does not have any kind of policy about voting during the workday. As attorneys, Brewton said he and his partners work in close quarters with the jury system and encourage their employees to participate in their community in any way they can. As long as employees get their work done, Brewton said, he did not see an issue with employees taking time out of the work day to vote.

“If someone needed time during the day to vote, we would not prohibit that,” he said. “We are most interested in everyone doing their civic duty.”

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