Q. A number of employees have expressed concerns about long lines on Election Day and their intent to vote in the morning. That could make them late for work. Our office closes at 5:30, which gives employees 2½ hours to vote before polls close. Can we force employees to vote after they have completed their workday? If an employee who votes in the morning is late for work, can we deduct the missed time from his or her pay?
A. No and no. Minnesota law provides that employees must be permitted to take time off during the morning of Election Day to vote, without penalty or deduction from wages. Violating the Minnesota statute is a misdemeanor.
The statute protects employees who wish to vote in regularly scheduled state primaries or general elections, elections to fill a vacancy in an office of a Minnesota or U. S. senator or representative, and presidential primaries.