Cartwright Introduces Legislation to Make Voting Accessible for All American Workers
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S.Representative Matt Cartwright introduced legislation to ensure that all American workers have access to the ballot box during federal elections. The Time Off to Vote Act would require employers to grant their employees at least two hours of paid leave to vote in federal elections. Such a provision already exists in some states; Cartwright’s bill would extend the paid leave practice to all states.
In half of U.S. states, employers are not required to give their workers paid leave to vote. In 19 of those states, employers are not required to let their employees leave work to vote at all. During each election, many wage earners choose not to go to the polls because they cannot afford the unpaid time that voting requires for them, especially when lines are long.
“We need to do more to bring people into the electorate,” said Congressman Cartwright. “In a true democracy, every eligible voter should be able to cast a ballot without having to make a professional or economic sacrifice. Our election results should reflect the will and desires of the American people.”
According to the United States Election Project, only 51.4% of eligible Pennsylvania voters went to the polls in the 2018 midterm general elections, which was actually above the national average. The Time Off to Vote Act is meant to help close the large gap between eligible voters and actual voters.
The legislation has received the support of Common Cause, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), and Let America Vote.
“As some states pass restrictive and discriminatory laws that make voting more difficult, the Time Off to Vote Act is needed more than ever,” said Aaron Scherb, Common Cause’s Director of Legislative Affairs. “Common Cause commends Representative Cartwright for his leadership to promote voting rights so that all eligible Americans can have their voices heard at the ballot box.”
"The Time Off to Vote Act is commonsense legislation that is an important step forward in reaffirming that voting is a right in this country. Unfortunately, voting is an inconvenient process in nearly every state, so politicians should be doing everything they can to make it just a little bit easier for their constituents,” said Abe Rakov, President of Let America Vote. “We are eager to support Congressman Cartwright in his effort to allow more eligible voters to make their voices heard on Election Day."