Voting - General or Special Election
The State of Illinois grants 2 hours of paid time to vote under certain circumstances. State of Illinois law grants eligible employees up to two hours of paid time off for the purpose of voting in a general or special election within the State of Illinois if their working hours on the day of the election begin less than 2 hours after the opening of the polls and end less than 2 hours before the closing of the polls.
State of Illinois law (10 ILCS 5/1-3) defines a general election as the "biennial election at which members of the General Assembly are elected" and a special election as "an election not regularly recurring at fixed intervals, irrespective of whether it is held at the same time and place and by the same election officers as a regular election."
Specific information on the following topics can be found below:
Approval & Documentation
Please also see information regarding voting in a Primary election.
To be eligible for paid time to vote on the day of an election, an employee must be:
- Entitled to vote at a general or special election or at any election at which propositions are submitted to a popular vote in the State of Illinois.
- Scheduled to work on the day of such election, with working hours beginning less than 2 hours after the opening of the polls and ending less than 2 hours before the closing of the polls. For example, if the polls are open from 6:00am to 7:00pm and the employee's scheduled work hours are from 7:00am - 7:00pm, the employee may be granted 2 hours of paid time to vote during the day of the election.
Approval & Documentation
Prior to the day of the election, the employee must provide his or her supervisor/department with a written request, and show his/her voter registration card as proof of eligibility to vote in the designated election.
Eligible employees are encouraged to vote during their non-working hours. However, if they are unable to do so based on the working hours criteria described above, they may be granted up to 2 hours paid time to vote on the day of the election between the time of opening and closing of the polls. Your supervisor/department may specify the hours during which you may absent yourself to vote.
Civil Service non-exempt and other hourly employees who qualify for a PAID absence per the explanation above, should report voting leave using the "Voting Leave" earnings code.
Civil Service non-exempt and other hourly employees who DO NOT qualify for paid absence per the explanation above, should report voting leave as an “Excused Absence W/O pay” or use vacation or compensatory time for their leave.
Faculty, Academic Professional, and Exempt Civil Service employees generally will not need to report the up to two hour time to vote, since they report time in full or half day increments. If two hours constitutes a half day of work, the employee may be able to vote outside of work hours or use vacation time for the leave.
See examples provided below for Civil Service non-exempt and other eligible hourly employees. Remember that election polls in Illinois are open from 6:00am to 7:00pm.
Work Hours: Kim is registered to vote, and her scheduled work hours are from 7:00am - 7:00pm. Kim’s scheduled work hours are such that she begins work less than 2 hours after the opening of the polls, AND ends work less than 2 hours before the polls close.
Leave Time: Kim may take up to 2 hours of PAID time to vote during the day of the election. Kim should make arrangements with her supervisor prior to the day of the election, and her supervisor may specify which hours she can be absent.
Work Hours: Joe is registered to vote, and his scheduled work hours are from 8:00am - 5:00pm. Since the polls are open 2 hours before and after his work day, Joe is generally expected to vote during those non-working hours.
Leave Time: Joe’s work hours would allow time to vote during non-working hours, but it will not be convenient for him to do so. Joe may take up to 2 hours of UNPAID, vacation, or compensatory time to vote during the day of the election. Joe should make arrangements with his supervisor prior to the day of the election, and his supervisor may specify which hours he can be absent.
Time to vote in a general or special election is provided for under the State of Illinois Election Code, 10 ILCS 5/17-15.
See also Policy and Rules for Civil Service Staff, 11.14 Excused Absences Without Pay.