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Time Off for Voting Rules in Tennessee

Filed under Managing the Workplace. Fact checked on May 25, 2012.

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Tennessee employers must provide employees with time off to vote in accordance with these state rules.

In Tennessee, an employee may be absent for a reasonable time without penalty to vote during the time the polls are open in the county where the employee resides. The employee may not be discharged for exercising or failing to exercise the right to vote.

Voting machine technicians appointed by the county election commission who perform duties on a part-time basis and who have other full-time employment must be excused without pay from their full-time employment for the day or days required for the performance of the technician's duties. An employer may not require the technician to use vacation time or other leave time days while on voting machine duty.

Paid time off rules: Time off to vote is time off without loss of wages.

Advance notice requirements: An application for leave must be made by noon on the day prior to the election. The employer may specify the hours of absence.

Amount of time off allowed: Employees are permitted to be absent from work for up to three hours to vote.

When time off not allowed: If an employee's working hours begin three hours after the opening or end three hours before the closing of the polls, the time off to vote law does not apply.

Employer penalty for violation: Jail for up to 30 days, up to a $50 fine, or both. Corporations that violate the law prohibiting the coercion of employee voting are subject to the forfeit of their charter and the right to do business in Tennessee.

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