Elections, Voting and Political Activities

Voting Time Leave

Employees are entitled to paid time off during their regular work hours, under state statute as well as contracts and plans, for the purposes of voting in any statewide primary or general election or an election to fill a vacancy in the office of a representative in Congress. General election includes elections at either the city or county level, as well as state and federal level. Such leave must be granted to employees who are eligible to vote and is only available during the day of the election. Such leave must be pre-arranged and is for a reasonable period of time, considering voter turnout and commute time.

Minnesota State Statute 204C.04 - Employees; Time Off to Vote

Election Judge Leave

State law, as well as our contracts and plans, allow for paid leave for purposes of serving as an election judge. This paid leave includes not only the date(s) of an actual election, but also includes any training required of the election judge. Any leave for training purposes should be only for the training period, plus a reasonable commute period. An appointing authority is not required to adjust an employee’s schedule such that the employee’s work schedule coincides with the date(s) or hours of leave for training or an election.

While state law allows an employer to offset the employee’s pay by the amount of remuneration earned for service as an election judge, the State has elected to forgo such an offset due to the administrative costs of affecting such an offset. In order for employees to be granted paid election judge leave they must provide at least 20 days notice of the need for such leave. You may request a certificate of appointment as an election judge from the employee. You may also request documentation of the time required for the training.

Minnesota State Statute - 204B.195 Time Off from Work to Serve as Election Judge

Classes and Other Events Scheduling

Minnesota Statutes 204C.03.04 states that “except for regularly scheduled classes, no Minnesota state college or university shall schedule an event between 6 and 8 p.m. on the day that an election is held in any political subdivision in which the university or college is located.”

This statute pertains to both the primary and general election.

Minnesota State Statute 204C.03 - Public Meetings Prohibited on Election Day

Use of State Computers and Computer System

The State’s computers and its computer system are not to be used for political activities. It is inappropriate for employees, employee groups or exclusive representatives to use state computers, computer systems, email addresses or fax numbers to communicate messages that are politically partisan. Encouraging employees to “get out and vote” is not partisan politics and is not prohibited. Encouraging employees to vote for a particular candidate, platform or party is partisan and is prohibited.

Statewide Policy - Appropriate Use of Electronic Communication and Technology

Minnesota State Statute 43A.38 - Code of Ethics for Employees in the Executive Branch

Political Speech

Government has the ability to regulate the speech of its employees within the workplace so long as employees First Amendment rights to freedom of speech are not abridged. Signs of a political nature may be posted, but should be kept out of areas of public access and/or public view.

State-provided bulletin boards, either physical or electronic, should not be used for purposes of posting political speech. Employees are permitted to post political speech within their cubicle, provided it is not an area of public access or visible to the public. Employees sharing workspace should be respectful of the sensitivities of their co-workers with regard to any political speech that may be posted. Buttons or pins containing a partisan message may be worn.

Political Activities of State Employees

An employee may be a candidate for public office, but may not campaign during work time, in state uniform or on state premises. Any state employee who has filed for an elected public office must request the opinion of Human Resources to determine if the holding of that office conflicts with his/her regular state employment. Human Resources will consult with other appropriate administrators to make a determination.

Minnesota Management & Budget - Political Activities of State Employees

Minnesota State Statute - 43A.32 Political Activities