New York State law gives you time to vote on Election Day

Did you know New York State law entitles you to time off to vote on Election Day? You just have to ask for it in advance.

polling-place-electionUnder New York State Election Law § 3-110, employers must give employees up to two hours off to vote, if there isn’t a block of four consecutive hours either between the time polls open and the start of your shift, or between the end of your shift and the time the polls close. Even better, they have to give you up to two hours off without loss of pay!

What’s the catch? You have to request that time off from your employer in advance — during the stretch from ten working days to two working days before the election. That means you have until November 4 to put your request in, if you don’t work weekends.

You also have the choice of applying for an absentee ballot, if you physically can’t vote in person on election day. That includes being away from your home county for work or vacation, being a patient at a hospital or rehab, or temporarily or permanently ill or disabled. You can apply for an absentee ballot at the Tompkins County Board of Elections web site, or in person no later than 5pm the day before election day, i.e. 5pm on Monday, November 7. The ballot itself must be returned in person before the polls close, or postmarked no later than the day before the election and received no later than 7 days after the election.

The Tompkins County Board of Elections has extended hours until 7pm today, and next Tuesday and Thursday, and they’re open 9am-noon this Saturday and next Saturday, to provide and accept absentee ballot applications and absentee ballots.

Polls will be open for this year’s general election on Tuesday, November 8 from 6am to 9pm. Not sure where to vote? Check the Board of Elections web site.

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