Time Allowance for Voting – 2020 Early Voting Rule Expansion

TSEA October 21, 2020 Comments Off on Time Allowance for Voting – 2020 Early Voting Rule Expansion
Time Allowance for Voting – 2020 Early Voting Rule Expansion

The Tennessee Department of Human Resources recently sent an email notifying state employees that the time allowance for voting rules has been expanded.

The State of Tennessee Attendance and Leave Manual outlines the time allowance rules for voting on Election Day. It outlines the time allowance rules for voting on Election Day. To support continuity of state operations and increased physical distancing on Election Day, November 3, 2020, the Department of Human Resources has expanded the time allowance for voting rules to apply during Early Voting, beginning Wednesday, October 14 – Thursday, October 29, 2020.

The Time Allowance for Voting Rules and highlighted adjustments for the 2020 election cycle are as follows:

Any person entitled to vote in an election held in this state may be absent from any service or employment on the day of the election for a reasonable period of time, not to exceed three (3) hours, necessary to vote during the time polls are open in the county where the employee is a resident. Application for such absence shall be made to the employer before 12:00 p.m. on the day before the election or date of early voting.

A voter absent from work to vote, in compliance with this section, will not be subjected to any penalty or reduction in base pay for the employee’s absence. If the work schedule of an employee begins three (3) or more hours after the opening of the polls or ends three (3) or more hours before the closing of polls of the county where the employee is a resident, the employee may not take time off under this section. The employer may designate the period of permissible absenteeism. Absences for this reason should be coded as Administrative Leave for Election (ADMEL) on the employee’s attendance and leave record.

Additional reminders for State Employee Voting and Political Activity are below:

Voter Information:

To find voter information, including polling locations and hours, click here to visit the Tennessee Secretary of State website.

Guidance to Stay Safe While Voting in Person:

  • For guidance on how to stay safe when voting in person, click here to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

State Employee Political Activity:

  • In accordance with DOHR policy 12-012, there are three statutes that regulate state employee’s participation in certain types of political activities. For an overview of the restrictions for politics in the state workplace, click here.
  • It is important to note that state employees’ right to vote as they choose and the right to express opinions on political subjects and candidates are not affected by the restrictions

Personal Social Media and Political Activity:

  • In accordance with DOHR policy 12-058, personal use of social media must be consistent with the terms of use outlined in the Employee Acceptable Use Policy. State employees cannot use personal social media sites for political purposes or attribute personal views to an agency or department of the State of Tennessee. An employee’s use and comments made on social media sites are subject to First Amendment protections; however, if the State of Tennessee is listed as your employer on your personal social media profiles, any information you post will be held to a higher level of scrutiny.

For questions regarding time allowance for voting, please contact your agency human resources office.

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