A couple of state employees are accusing the New Mexico government of going back on its own policy by denying workers paid time off to vote in Albuquerque’s city election Tuesday. The two workers filed suit against the State Personnel Office late Monday after a back-and-forth between officials and a union representing government employees ended in an impasse. The fight was weeks, if not several years, in the making. The lawsuit came on the same day Gov. Susana Martinez said state government employees could take time off work to donate blood after a mass shooting in Las Vegas.
The state administrative code says employees can take can take up to two hours of paid leave to vote on election days. That is, if their shifts would not allow them at least that much time to cast a ballot before or after work. But the State Personnel Office says that policy does not apply to municipal elections.
Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, New Mexico’s top election official and a Democrat, already has said the opposite.
Last month, the Communication Workers of America Local 7076, which represents employees at the Department of Health and Public Education Department among other agencies, asked her to weigh in as the state’s top election official.