GIVE WORKERS PAID TIME OFF TO VOTE (S 2545)

By Bob Katzen

The Senate 12-26, rejected an amendment that would require all employers to give each worker two hours of paid time off per election to vote. The employee could use that two hours to vote early in-person, vote by mail or vote on Election Day. The amendment would replace a current law that is narrower and requires the worker to apply for a leave of absence in order to vote and only allows the worker to vote during the two hours after the polls open on Election Day.

“Workers should not have to choose between earning a paycheck and exercising their fundamental right to vote,” said sponsor Sen. Becca Rausch. “Where Massachusetts should be a leader in the nation on the issue of granting paid time off to head to the polls, we are notably far behind. Twenty-three other states and the District of Columbia already enacted paid time off for voting, and our commonwealth’s citizens deserve the same.”

“I think if we really want to have a discussion about how we really wanna help people that are working two, three, four jobs, we should have that discussion,” said Sen. Barry Finegold. “But I don’t think this [amendment] solves that. There is a problem out there, that we did not have enough people in lower social economic communities take advantage of vote by mail, because they don’t trust the post office and there’s a lot of misconceptions up there. That is something I believe we need to work on, but I don’t think this is gonna be the solution to get people from lower social economic communities to come out to vote even more. I do think that with some of the things we have passed, having a better public relations campaign explaining the benefits of vote by mail, that is how we can get people from lower social economic communities to get out.”

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