Moss, Guerra push to reduce voting barriers for working people

Legislators introduce bills that offer time off from work to vote on Election Day

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) and Rep. Vanessa Guerra (D-Bridgeport Township) introduced legislation today that would expand access for people to participate in future elections by providing employees with paid leave time on Election Day so that they can cast their ballots.  

“Michiganders deserve more access to participate in our democracy, not less. Thanks to no-reason absentee voting provided by Proposal 3 in 2018 and the absentee ballot applications that were mailed to voters by our Secretary of State, we will be able to safely vote from home during this public health crisis,” Moss said. “And when normal times resume, we must remove in-person barriers to participate at the polls on Election Day and join the other states that offer voters leave from work to vote.” 

Senate Bill 1029 and House Bill 6000 would offer employees two hours of paid leave, unless an employee has three or more consecutive non-working hours while the polls are open. To be eligible for paid leave time, the employee would be required to give their employer advance notice that they will be taking voter leave time on Election Day.  

“Voting is the fundamental basis for participation in our democracy,” Rep. Guerra said. “Nobody should have their rights curtailed solely because they didn’t have the free time to exercise it.” 

Currently there is no federal law that allows working people to take time off to vote but, according to Business Insider, a majority of states offer paid or non-paid time off on Election Day to cast a ballot. If this legislation is passed, Michigan would be the seventh Midwestern state to provide paid time off to vote on Election Day. 

“I applaud Senator Moss and Representative Guerra for introducing this legislation,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said. “We must all work to remove barriers that prevent workers from making their voices heard in our democracy.”

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More news:

First Senate Committee Hearing on FOIA, Transparency Bills Benson launches “Ready for November” Interview Series with discussion of election law updates needed from Legislature Senator Jeremy Moss Voter Education Newsletter and Resources

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