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The mid-term elections are just around the corner. The polls will be open on November 6 from 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., and turn out this year is expected to be high.

Although you may want to participate in the upcoming election, you may also be concerned about finding time to vote outside of your regular work schedule. Particularly if you work long hours or far away from your home, squeezing in a stop at your polling place before or after work may prove challenging.

Fortunately, Kentucky offers a few protections to its constituents with a day job, which can make the voting process a bit more feasible — even for the busy working professional.

Voting in the election

State law dictates that employers must give their employees four hours off work to either cast their ballot on election day or apply for an absentee ballot in advance of the election. To take this leave, employees must give their employers at least one day’s notice. In addition, employers have the right to specify which hours their employees may take off for such activities.

Employees are protected from any employer retaliation for taking time off to vote. However, if an employee takes this time off and fails to vote for any reason, they may face disciplinary action.

Serving in the election

In addition to voting in the election, eligible constituents can also volunteer to serve as election officers on election day. Election officers work at each precinct’s polling place, ensuring that voting is conducted fairly, and that everyone who is eligible receives the chance to vote.

Employees who are serving as election officers are allowed to receive time off on election day as well as any additional time off needed to attend election officer training. Election officers’ regular jobs are protected when they take this time off — such employees cannot be penalized or threatened for exercising their right to serve in the election.

No one should have to choose between their job and their right to vote. Understanding your legal protections can give you more confidence in claiming time off to cast your ballot.