Federal Employees News Digest
WH: Order gives feds time off for voting
- By FEND Staff
- Mar 15, 2021
The White House has issued an executive order calling for agencies to give employees time off for voting.
“It is a priority of my administration to ensure that the federal government, as the nation’s largest employer, serves as a model employer by encouraging and facilitating federal employees’ civic participation,” President Biden states in the order.
The section of the order that applies to feds specifically is designed help ensure greater participation in elections—and may be especially helpful to those who may face time-consuming experiences at polling places. It is part of a wider-ranging effort to facilitate voting in this country.
The order comes in the wake of several election cycles of increasing reports of delays, long lines and, sometimes, polling place chaos due to inadequate capacity at in-person voting facilities in numerous locales—most often in and around cities—across the U.S.
A countervailing trend has been an increasing number of states that permit less restrictive absentee voting, as well as longer periods of convenient and early in-person voting. However, this trend has not taken hold everywhere. Indeed, since last November’s election, a number of state legislatures have pushed legislation that reverses the trend—potentially making time off for voting a more consequential issue.
For a start, the White House order mandates that, within the next 200 days, the Office of Personnel Management must explore and report on ways to have agencies provide feds with time off for voting.