Wisconsin Law Allows Time Off to Vote, But It’s Unpaid

Voting booths



By christinalieffring

October 16, 2020

Workers eligible for up to three hours off to cast their ballots.

In addition to issues with registration, identification, post office tampering, and the pandemic, voters in the United States also have to take their job into consideration when making a plan for how to vote.

Thirty states, including Wisconsin, have state statutes requiring employers to give their employees time off to vote. While the majority of states require paid time off for voting and sets no time limit, Wisconsin’s statute states that employees are not entitled to paid time off and they are limited to three hours. Employees must also notify their employer that they plan to take time off to vote ahead of time.

The US has lagged behind other countries in voter turnout for decades. Even in a major presidential election, such as in 2016, only 56% of eligible voters cast a ballot. Out of the 32 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that held national elections that year, the US ranked 26th out of 32 for voter turnout. Pew researchers found that many of the countries with high voter turnout had compulsory voting and automatic voter registration. 

One tactic for increasing voter turnout in the US has been a push for a federal Election Day holiday. So far the proposal has not gained much traction at the federal level, leaving it up to states like Virginia, which declared a state holiday on Election Day this year, and companies such as Twitter, Patagonia, and more to decide whether voters get the day off or not. 




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