These Bosses Have an Election Day Plan for Their Employees

July 29th 2016

Having the the right to vote is one thing, but being allowed the time to actually do it is another.

Since election day still hasn't been added to the list of national holidays, Homebrew CEO Hunter Walk challenged his fellow tech entrepreneurs to allow their employees time off to vote on November 8.

Hunter told ATTN: in an emailed statement that he targeted tech companies to encourage them to be proactive in politics and bust a misconception that they are "apathetic" to political issues.

"There's sometimes an incorrect notion that the tech sector is apathetic about politics," Walk said. "I know that to be incorrect and thought we could highlight the companies and leaders who are actively encouraging their teams to take time to vote."

It's working.

Walk began keeping a list of the companies that have agreed to change their time-off policy on a Quora page.

Hunter Walk quora pageQuora - quora.com

As of right now, 100 companies have done so, including Wikimedia, which agreed to give their employees two hours paid leave for all upcoming elections.

But Walk wants more than just time off for employees.

"Personally, I'd love to see three efforts: (a) make it easier to vote by mail and the Internet, (b) make Election Day a Federal Holiday and (c) simplify voter registration," Walk said.

In reality, there is no national law that requires employers to give you time off to vote. Instead, this is a matter determined state by state.

In many states employees can take a few hours off during their shifts to go vote. But if the polls are open two hours before or after their shift ends then employees are required to vote during those times.

For example, in California employees can take paid time off at the beginning or end of their shifts to cast their ballots. But in Wisconsin, even though employees can request time off, they must notify their employer prior to Election Day, and their pay can be deducted.

Why don't we vote on weekends?

According to Why Tuesday?, a voting advocacy group devoted to answering that very question, the national voting day was established back in 1845, in response to conditions and customs that no longer exist.

The Weekend Voting Act, which would move voting days to the first Saturday and Sunday of November, was introduced in the House of Representatives in 2012, but has never been put up for a vote.


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