Colorado’s Voting Leave Law – Supporting Your Employees’ Right to Vote
2020 is a busy year of elections, starting with Colorado’s Presidential Primary Election on Mar. 3, 2020. State law requires all Colorado employers to support their employees’ right to vote by offering them accommodations to do so, including up to 2 hours of paid leave.
Colorado is a mail-in-ballot state which offers welcomed convenience for many. However, not everyone feels satisfied simply mailing in their ballots or has adequate trust in the U.S. Postal Service to deliver their ballot in time. And let’s face it, some of us just don’t feel fulfilled until we receive an “I Voted” sticker.
In Colorado, voters have the right to vote either by mail or in person. If they choose to vote in person, they also have the right to not be penalized or condescended by their employer for doing so.
Colorado’s Voting Leave Law
Per Colorado Statute 1-7-102, employees have a right to paid leave for voting if they request it. Employers are required to provide up to 2 hours of paid leave to vote unless one or more of the following is true.
- The request is not made at least 1 day before the voting day.
- The employee has 3 or more consecutive hours after the opening or before the closing of polls during which they are not required to be working.
Colorado poll hours are between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM. The employer gets to determine when the employee may take their leave. However, if an employee requests to take leave at the beginning or end of the workday, the employer must accommodate this.
2020 Colorado Election Dates
There are three elections taking place in Colorado in 2020. As Colorado replaced its caucus system with a primary system in 2016, all of these elections will be days that employees are eligible for voting leave. The following are the dates of the three elections this year in Colorado.
- Mar. 3, 2020 – The Presidential Primary Election
- Jun. 30, 2020 – The State Primary Election
- Nov. 3, 2020 – The General Election
Start Communicating NOW to Your Employees
The state mailed out ballots for the presidential primary last week. Due to this, employers should begin communicating information regarding voting leave to their employees. You cannot tell your employees to vote by mail rather than in person. But it’s okay to inform them of the varying ways they can vote.
It’s a good idea to communicate Colorado’s Voting Leave Law to your employees via email or in a meeting where you can be sure to also remind them of their obligations under the law if they wish to take paid leave to vote. It’s also good practice to keep the upcoming election dates on your company calendar. This ensures that you are prepared when employees begin requesting leave.
- “2020 Election Calendar.” Colorado Secretary of State, October 2019.
- “Colorado Leave Laws.” Employment Law Handbook, February 2020.
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