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Kaine & Hirono Introduce Legislation to Guarantee Workers Time Off to Vote

Research has shown that many eligible voters still fail to exercise their right to vote because they are unable to get time off from work

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine joined Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) in introducing the Time Off to Vote Act, legislation that would require employers—upon the request of the employee—to provide at least two consecutive hours of paid leave in order to vote in federal elections. This allotted time can be used to vote at a polling place, return a mail-in ballot, or take time for other voting-related activities, such as curing a ballot or driving someone to the polls.

“Voting is the foundation of our democracy, and no American should have to choose between voting and keeping their job or paying their bills,” said Kaine. “By passing the Time Off to Vote Act, we can help protect every American’s right to make their voice heard.”

In the 2020 presidential election, Americans voted in record numbers, but about 10% of eligible voters said they failed to vote because they were unable to take time off of work—either because they could not financially afford to or risked repercussions from employers. The Time Off to Vote Act would ensure all voters can cast their ballot by ensuring employees can get a two-hour period of time to vote without it affecting their pay or benefits.

This legislation is cosponsored by Senators Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Peter Welch (D-VT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Kaine, a former civil rights lawyer, has long fought to protect voting rights. In March, he cosponsored legislation to update and restore critical safeguards included in the original Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court weakened crucial tenets of that landmark law prohibiting discriminatory voting practices. Last year, Kaine cosponsored three separate bills to safeguard voting access: The Same Day Registration Act, the SAVE VOTERS Act, and the Register America to Vote Act.

The full text of the legislation is available here.