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Law gives workers time to vote

Law gives workers time to voteA little-known state law guarantees employees up to three hours away from work with pay to vote on Election Day as long as they ask for the time off at least a day in advance.

The law applies when there are fewer than three consecutive hours between the opening of the polls and the beginning of an employee’s shift or between the end of the shift and the closing of the polls.

Employers have the right to decide when during the workday an employee may vote.

The law means Arizona workers will be able to vote Nov. 6 even if their schedules prevent them from having free time before or after work. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“I think this is a very important statute,’’ said John Balitis, an attorney with the firm of Fennemore Craig in Phoenix, who specializes in labor law. “It’s a statute that is meaningful to both business and worker. It gives employees the opportunity to vote, even if they have a schedule conflict.’’

Legislatures in many states have passed laws giving employees the right to take time off from work to vote. However, Arizona is one of the few where employees may take up to three hours to cast their ballot.

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