CASPER, Wyo. — Some Wyoming employees will be paid to vote in Tuesday’s primary election.

State law requires employers to give employees an hour off to vote Tuesday if they work during the hours that polls are open — from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“They are paid for that hour,” said Peggy Nighswonger, state elections director. “It’s just as if they’re at the work place.”

The voting hour must be separate from the employee’s lunch hour, Nighswonger said.

But the law doesn’t apply to some federal employees and Wyoming workers who have three or more consecutive hours off during voting hours.

“If someone doesn’t go to work until 10 in the morning, that means they have time to vote,” Nighswonger said. “Let’s say they get off at 4 in the afternoon, they have that period (to vote.)”

Most of the people who get paid to vote are shift workers.

They cannot be penalized for voting by being forced to take an additional unpaid hour off at a later time.

“It’s been in our law for quite a while,” Nighswonger said. “Employers should be used to it by now.”

Employers who violate the law face a misdemeanor criminal charge and a fine of up to $1,000.

Regardless of your work situation, Wyoming Secretary of State Max Maxfield, who oversees elections, wants everyone to exercise their right to vote.

“I encourage all employers and employees alike to be good citizens and encourage everyone to participate in the election process,” he said in a media release.

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