NY Presidential Primary Alert! Do You Know What Your Employees’ Voting Rights Are?

Update on March 28:  New York’s Presidential primary elections have been postponed from April 28  to June 23rd, due to public health concerns amid the COVID-19 outbreak.  Other New York State congressional and legislative primaries were already scheduled to take place on June 23. Voter registration deadline is May 29th in New York.

On the heels of the Democratic debate in South Carolina this week, upcoming Super Tuesday on March 3rd with primaries in 14 States, and other Presidential primary races on the way, employers are reminded to pay attention to their employees’ voting rights.  As you know, political parties use these primaries to elect a candidate who will compete in the general election on November 3, 2020.

You may recall that in 2019, New York State’s voting leave law was amended.  It requires employers to offer employees “so much working time as will enable them to vote,” up to three hours’ paid voting leave, in primary and general elections as well as special elections called by the Governor, and to post a notice regarding employees’ rights in the workplace at least 10 working days before an election.  (It does not apply to early voting periods, however).

Note that the employee is allowed time off for voting only at the beginning or end of his or her working shift, as the employer may designate, unless otherwise mutually agreed.

Employees that need working time to vote must provide their employers with at least two business days’ notice of an intent to take voting leave before an election.  Previously, New York employees had up to two hours and only in situations where they did not have sufficient time to vote outside of working hours.  Employers should update their voting leave policies and notices.

For a calendar of Presidential primary elections in each State throughout the U.S., please see:

https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/2020-state-primary-election-dates.aspx

https://www.uspresidentialelectionnews.com/2020-presidential-primary-schedule-calendar/

If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Brauner, Esq., Head of Perlman & Perlman LLP’s Employment Law Practice, lisa@nullperlmanandperlman.com, 212-889-0575.

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