PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Election Day intentions often run aground in the sea of details of daily family life.
Schools are closed, kids are at home, parents need to work, and it all has to be juggled, so voting tends to take a back seat.
Many states are addressing the issues and about half, including Ohio, West Virginia, and New York require employers to give workers the chance to go vote during the work day.
Many states require it to be paid time off.
State Senator Jay Costa says, “I think Pennsylvania should take the step of employers allowing their employees to go vote during the course of Election Day. I think there are a lot of instances now given today’s economy, and variety other things going on in the family, that makes it difficult for folks to vote.”
While Senator Costa says the mail-in voting and absentee ballots provide an alternative, “Those folks who don’t want to vote by mail, and do want to vote in person should be given the opportunity, to be able to have that time off.”
Whether it’s paid time off or not is a subject for discussion.
“My belief is that we need to accommodate them in whatever way we can and need to start with their employees, particularly when the voting locations or school districts and school buildings, there’ll be closed that day so then you have childcare issues as well. So we have to figure out a solution that enhance people as the ability to vote.”
Even he says, providing some form of short term childcare, “We’ve got to figure out a way to be able to make your work there are childcare programs that I think will come together. There are ways in which we can add pricing locations and certain ones that we could work with maybe working through the county we could provide childcare services during the course of that day for the amount of time that’s necessary for folks to vote.”
The issue of getting time off to vote, and childcare, impact young families the most, especially those without the resources to pay someone to watch the children while the adults go to vote.
These issues are not new in Harrisburg.
Costa says, “This is one that has come up, in fact there’s been legislation I believe that has been introduced over a number of sessions, but it hasn’t percolated to the top of the list of election reforms that we need to talk about.”
But with so much election reform now under discussion, Senator Costa is hopeful these issues will get some serious attention and action.