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City of Columbus Announces Paid Leave for Employees to Support Democracy

[COLUMBUS, OH] Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, along with Columbus City Council President Shannon G. Hardin and Franklin County Board of Elections Director Ed Leonard today announced a Precinct Election Official Leave Program to encourage City of Columbus employees to work the General Election on November 3, 2020.

“Giving City of Columbus employees a paid day off to serve as poll workers will mean shorter lines and safer in-person voting,” said Council President Hardin. “We’ve been pushing to ensure this election is accessible for our residents as a part of Council’s Vote Safe Initiative. As others try to spread disinformation, Council will continue to explore creative ways to protect this November’s election.”

“The election process in our country is sacred, and we must do all we can to ensure that residents can vote safely,” said Mayor Ginther. “I am pleased that city employees – every one of them a public servant – will be able to choose to participate as poll workers, if they so desire, without having to use vacation time.”

Any Columbus employee who is a registered voter of Franklin County, who resides in the City of Columbus, and who meets the other requirements established by the law and the Franklin County Board of Elections may request Election Official Leave with pay for the purposes of being a judge of an election engaged by the Franklin County Board of Elections.

“This is not the first time in our nation’s history that we have been asked to take extra precautions to vote safely in an election," said Councilmember Rob Dorans, who is leading the Vote Safe Columbus effort. "Through pandemics and wars, we have always risen to the challenge of making our voices heard at the ballot box. I ask that whether you vote by absentee ballot, or mask up and socially distance at your local polling station, it’s up to us as individuals to take the initiative to ensure our voices are heard safely.”

Columbus City Council will vote on two Memorandums of Understanding, one with the Communications Workers of America, (CWA) Local 4502, and one with American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFCSME) Ohio Council 8, Local 1632, on Monday, October 5, 2020.

“I would like to thank Mayor Ginther, President Hardin, and City of Columbus workers for stepping up to answer the call to serve as poll workers during this important election,” said Director Ed Leonard. “Poll workers play a critical role in administering elections here in Franklin County and across Ohio, and if ever there was a time to serve as a poll worker, that time is now.”