Naples business owners let employees vote on Election Day

Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:

In less than 15 hours, the polls will open for Election Day. More than 5 million Florida voters have already cast their ballots, but the push isn’t over.

WINK News spoke to business owners who are encouraging their employees to head to the polls.

“Not only would I encourage it, I would say that it’s mandatory if you work for me, Melody Bales said.

Bales is the owner of The Lady from Haiti shop on 5th Avenue in Naples. She said she will allow her employees to vote tomorrow during their shifts.

“I think it’s unfair to say that a person has to do it on their own time rather than get a little bit of allocated time from work,” Bales said.

Others said it should be an employee’s right once they start working.

“Just because it’s so many important issues going on right now, especially in Florida,” said Courtney Smith, manager at Tropics Real Estate. “And everyone should be able to go out and decide why they want to do.”

The Florida Department of State said there is no federal law that mandates employers provide their staff time off to cast their ballots, but many states have “time-off-to-vote laws.” States such as Colorado and California allow up to two hours of paid leave, while others such as Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida leave it up to employers.

In Collier County, more than 50 percent of registered voters have already cast their ballot.

If you haven’t voted yet, polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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