Know the military civilians' right to vote

  • Published
  • By By Dr. Jaime Sampayo
  • 50th Force Support Squadron

Voting is a fundamental right and privilege of the American people. According to the office of personnel management, where polls are not open at least three hours either before or after an employee’s regular work hours, an agency may grant a limited amount of excused absence to permit the employee to report for work three hours after the polls open or leave from work three hours before the polls close, whichever requires the lesser amount of time off. An employee’s regular work hours should be determined by reference to the time of day the employee normally begins and ends his or her workday.

Employees on alternative work schedules, whose regular day off is scheduled for the day polls are open should not be permitted to change their regular day off solely for the purpose of gaining excused absence for voting.

If an employee’s voting place is beyond normal commuting distance and vote by absentee ballot is not permitted, the agency may grant excused absence (not to exceed one day) to allow the employee to make the trip to the voting place to cast a ballot. If more than a day is needed, the employee may request annual leave or leave without pay for the additional period of absence.

An increasing number of jurisdictions offer a period prior to the day of the election during which voters may cast ballots early. Some employees may find it necessary to vote during this early period because of work requirements on the day of the election.

Agencies should grant excused absence for early voting on a scheduled workday only when the employee will be unable to vote on the day of the election because of activities directly related to the agency’s mission (such as temporary duty travel) and cannot vote by absentee ballot, or early voting hours are the same as, or exceeds, voting hours on the day of the election, in which case the information provided under “Granting Excused Absence for Voting” applies.

 If an employee chooses to vote earlier, but the hours in which polling places are open are shorter than on Election Day, the employee is not eligible for excused absence because the employee has opted to vote at that time.

Please direct any questions to the Schriever AFB civilian personnel office at (719) 567- 5221 or Peterson AFB civilian personnel office at (719) 556-4775.