What Employers Need to Know About California Election Law
Election Day is right around the corner. Employers must stay compliant with California State Law requirements concerning employee voting rights and should immediately review existing company policies and practices to ensure compliance with said laws. Employers must also be prepared to deal with employee requests for time off before election days. California maintains a website that has all the pertinent information employers and employees must understand regarding their voting system.
California Statewide Election Dates:
- March 3, 2020: Primary election.
- November 3, 2020: General election – state and federal levels.
Under California Election Code Section 14000:
- Polls Are Open From: 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- Time Off: Employees are entitled to two paid hours off for voting, only if their non-working hours are insufficient for them to cast their vote.
- Hours: Time off may only be taken at the beginning or end of a work shift, whichever maximizes the amount of free time for voting and minimizes time away from work, unless otherwise mutually agreed.
- Employee Notice to Employer: The law requires workers to notify their employers two business days before the election if they need to take time off to vote.
- Posting Requirement: Employers must post a notice of voting-time requirements at least 10 days before an election. Employers can satisfy this requirement by posting a copy of the Time Off to Vote notice.
California Voter Registration
- Automatic Voter Registration: Beginning 2016, any individuals who visited the California Department of Motor Vehicles to acquire or renew a driver’s license could automatically register to vote.
- Online Voter Registration: California has an online voter registration system. Residents can register to vote at: http://registertovote.ca.gov/
Voting in California
- Deadline: The deadline to register to vote is 15 days before Election Day.
- Voter Requirements: To vote in California, an individual must be a U.S. citizen and California resident who is 18 years or older on Election Day. The voter cannot be in a state or federal prison, on parole for the conviction of a felony and cannot be found mentally incompetent to vote by a court.
- Conditional Voter Registration: A new safety net for Californians who miss the deadline to register to vote or update their voter registration information for an election. This is available beginning 14 days before an election and through Election Day.
- Early Voting: California permits no-excuse early voting, which allows citizens to cast ballots in person at a polling place before an election. Voters must contact their local county elections office for a list of polling places that allow early voting.
- Absentee or Voting by Mail: All voters are eligible to vote absentee in California but must use a special application.
Voter ID Laws in California
California voters are not required to show identification at the polling place. A voter may be asked to provide identification at the polls if it is his/her first-time voting (this requirement applies if the individual registered by mail without providing a driver’s license number, state identification number, or the last four digits of a Social Security number). Acceptable forms of identification include driver’s license, utility bills, or any document sent by a government agency. For a complete list of acceptable forms of identification, please see this list.
Questions About When an Employee Gets Paid Time Off or Need to Craft a Company Policy on This Topic?
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