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Rep. Cartwright Introduces Bill to Increase Voting Accessibility

Jun 23, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright re-introduced legislation that would increase voting accessibility. The Time Off to Vote Act would require employers to grant their workers at least two hours of paid leave to vote in federal elections. 

“Voting should not be a luxury that only the well-off can afford,” said Rep. Cartwright. “This bill helps ensure that all Americans, regardless of their economic status, are able to exercise the right to vote.”

In 25 states, employers are not required to give their employees paid leave to vote.  In 19 states, employers are not required to let their employees leave work to vote.

In this environment, employees can be actively prohibited by their employers from leaving work to vote, and many others choose not to attend the polls because they simply cannot afford the 1-3 hours of unpaid time that voting often requires.  For example, an individual working a 40-hour job at minimum wage would forgo 5% of their weekly salary if they take off two hours to vote.

The Time Off to Vote Act is endorsed by Common Cause and Asian Americans Advancing Justice - AAJC.

“As some states pass restrictive 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.”