Early voting time off bill wins final approval in Georgia

Credit: Branden Camp

Credit: Branden Camp

Workers would be allowed two hours to vote

The Georgia Senate passed a bill Monday to ensure workers can take time off to cast a ballot either during early voting or on election day, sending the measure to Gov. Brian Kemp.

The Senate voted 46-3 to approve the legislation, Senate Bill 129, which would expand on an existing law that guarantees two hours of unpaid voting time for workers on election day. Under the bill, workers would also have the option of taking time to vote during three weeks of early voting.

Workers seeking time off would have to notify their employer in advance, and then the employer could decide on a time when workers could be absent, according to the bill.

“Now, Georgians will have more options to cast a ballot during advance voting and more confidence in the results,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said. “This bill is good for business, election officials and Georgia voters.”

The legislation also would require audits of at least one statewide contest after primary, runoff and special elections. Currently, a race is only audited after general elections every two years.

The House overwhelmingly passed the bill last week. If Kemp signs the measure, it would become effective July 1.