we have a mandatory all-staff jamboree on Election Day

A reader writes:

I work for a small company (under 20 employees, plus approximately 50 independent contractors over 30 states). The big boss has decreed that this year we shall have a mandatory all-staff (and all-contractor) jamboree, hosted here in my city where the head office is located, on November 7, 8, and 9.

November 8th is Election Day.

When Big Boss first brought this up in our all-staff meeting, there was an awkward silence, and Big Boss sort of shrugged and said “All the other dates at the venue were booked. Good thing there’s early and absentee voting!”

Thus, two questions:

1. Is this legal? I know voting rights laws vary by state, but this event will require interstate travel from most participants. Laws here in my state (Illinois) appear to indicate that I cannot be required to vote early or absentee, but must be given time off during polling hours on election day. My duties for that day of the mandatory jamboree will run from 8:30 a.m. to approximately 10:30 p.m. I am hesitant to bring this up with our single employee who handles HR stuff (in addition to her other duties), since a company of this size cannot guarantee the anonymity of a complaint, freedom from retaliation, or really much in the way of checks and balances whatsoever.

2. How can I get out of staffing this event? None of us want to do it. (A couple of us were planning to attend rallies that evening, with an open possibility of riots, civil disobedience, and/or jail. I had even been considering asking for the day after Election Day off, just to be on the safe side.) We have no politically disengaged employees here who might not mind doing it. The jamboree day in question will consist of meetings all day, then mandatory group dinner where there will be lots of alcohol, then mandatory presence at group drinking at the hotel bar. Realistically, there will be no other topic of conversation that evening but the election returns. And if I have to liase, coordinate, conciliate, laugh, smile, and be perky and frictionlessly feminine for a bunch of red-state reps while the election results are coming in, I am concerned that the evening may well end with blood on the hotel bar floor. (Mine? Theirs? Does it really matter at that point?)

Okay, first let’s tackle what the law requires and then we’ll talk about other options.

So, no federal law requires employers to give you time off to vote, but a majority of state laws do require some version of this. Some states require employers to give you time off to vote only if you won’t have enough time to vote while the polls are open before or after work, some states require employers to give you a specific amount of time off to vote, and some don’t have any requirements around this.

I asked employment lawyer Donna Ballman, author of the excellent Stand Up For Yourself Without Getting Fired, to weigh in on your situation. She says: “In your state, Illinois, you have some protection. Your state law says that you are entitled, after giving notice before Election Day, to two hours off work, provided that your working hours begin less than two hours after the opening of the polls and end less than two hours before the closing of the polls.”

In your case, she points out that you have a two-hour window available for voting before your workday starts that morning: “If the polls open at 6 a.m. (as I believe they do in Illinois) and your work day starts at 8 a.m., you don’t have the right to miss work to vote. Since you say your work day will start at 8:30 a.m., you may be out of luck. You’ll have to do early or absentee voting, or roll out of bed with the roosters.”

I asked Donna what would happen if you were being sent out of town on a business trip that day (like some of your out-of-town coworkers) and thus didn’t have access to your local polls at all. She said, “I don’t see anything in this law requiring anything more than two hours off. So I don’t think it prohibits out-of-town meetings. If the employee is required to work out of town, then absentee or early voting may be the answer.”

She also added, “For more on what your rights are in various states, check out this handy state-by-state guide. This election year may be one of the most important in history, so vote well!”

So absentee voting is the solution here.

Now, what about your second question — can you get out of staffing the event altogether? Legally, you don’t have recourse here. But if enough of your coworkers are willing to push back on this, it’s possible that you could get your boss to budge. That’s not guaranteed, of course, but if a group of you speaks up and asserts that it’s important to you to be able to perform various civic duties that day — not just voting, but other forms of political participation as well — and that you want to be able to focus on the election that night (a very reasonable request), you might be able to get through to your boss. You should also point out that the company jamboree (jamboree — ugh) is going to be utterly undermined by how distracted people will be by the election.

As a general rule when you’re trying to get your employer to change a decision, the more people you can get to speak up, the better your chances.

{ 336 comments… read them below }

  1. Jaguar

    I’m wondering what “an open possibility of riots” and hoping to get the day afterwards off work means. Does the OP expect to participate in riots?

    1. Kasia

      I’m guessing she means she was planning on participating in the riots and was planning on taking the next day off in case she ends up spending the night in jail

      1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

        That’s how I read it. Odd.

        It would make a fun column if AAM went into the ramifications of getting arrested for civil disobedience or rioting, and getting fired from a job as a result.

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          The ramifications are the same as getting fired for anything else that’s none of your employer’s business — it means that your employer probably sucks, in many states it’s legal (but not in all), and you should stand up for what you believe if you’re willing to deal with the consequences. In fact, that’s what the heart of civil disobedience is — it’s saying “this is so important that I’m willing to take the consequences.” That’s why it’s powerful.

          My arrests for civil disobedience are some of the moments in my life that I’m proudest of.

            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              In my early 20s, I worked on advocacy campaigns, which often included disruptive scenes in public. My employer was fond of media stunts, some of which resulted in police intervention. I disrupted speeches, unfurled huge banners where they didn’t belong, and a bunch of other stuff along those lines. Most of the time, when police showed up, they just detained us and then let us go. I did get to spend one very boring night in D.C. jail though, and then was released without charges the next day.

              There’s a little more about it here:
              https://www.askamanager.org/2015/10/what-to-say-if-you-want-to-walk-out-of-a-horrible-intervew.html#comment-901147

        2. Liana

          I mean, if I needed to ask a question like that, AAM would be my first recourse, considering her backstory :)

    2. themmases

      I didn’t really read it that way… Election night celebrations and demonstrations are common, especially for national elections and especially in a big city like Chicago.

      The city of Chicago has a reputation as a Democratic stronghold. However many people in the Chicago area are quite politically engaged, on both sides. If you look back at the recent Trump Rally That Wasn’t at UIC, I think it’s pretty clear why someone expecting to be at a Chicago rally on election night would want to be prepared for the possibility that it would get contentious.

      As someone who has participated in multiple Chicago rallies and protests, we also have a police force who can and will escalate things. I personally witnessed the police violence during the Iraq War protests in 2003 that got the CPD sued.

      1. themmases

        And just to add, many rallies this election season– especially Trump rallies– have gotten violent. Someone doesn’t need to be personally planning to riot to both want to attend a political rally, and want to be prepared for it getting out of hand. It’s called just not being naive. Especially this election season, especially in Chicago.

        1. Tris Prior

          Yep, fellow Chicagoan here, you beat me to it. I haven’t personally protested but I know many, many people who have, and ended up arrested for questionable reasons.

        2. Here, kitty, kitty...

          Interestingly, the violence at Trump rallies has tended to be incited by anti-Trump protesters who “attend” these rallies. There was recently a HuffPo article that condoned and encouraged this behaviour.

          1. Jaguar

            Yeah, this is part of the reason why I’m asking. I have a fear that anti-Trump protesters are going to Republican rallies with the intention of causing riots and OP’s language seemed to hint at that.

          2. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

            That’s been true at a few events, but not across the board. Remember the protestors who were punched as they were escorted out?

          3. esra

            This is probably not the place to get into that.

            Is the most temperate way I can put it.

              1. Here, kitty, kitty...

                I was just replying to themmases’s comment above. I’m not sure what I’ve done wrong.

                1. Lily in NYC

                  This is not the place to discuss politics and your comment was written in a way that leads to debate.

                2. Here, kitty, kitty...

                  I agree that this isn’t the place to discuss politics. But themmases mentioned that Trump protests become violent. That is discussing politics. I guess I just feel there is a double standard in the reactions to our two comments. This is my first time commenting here, and I feel unfairly called out.

                3. AMG

                  Alison has asked me to Let It Go on different topics too. It’s hard because each of our points are important to us or we would not have said something. Your opinion still has weight and value, but she understandably doesn’t want this to turn into a discussion on the candidates. ;)

                4. Aurion

                  Here, kitty, kitty:

                  themmases’ comment was to elaborate on a detail in the OP’s letter (whether the OP was planning to go riot); themmases pointed out that attendees of the rallies may get swept up into possible escalations. That’s still reasonably on topic, since a lot of commenters were puzzled by why the OP seems to be planning to riot (and wanting to skip a work event to do so).

                  Your comment was further speculation on who is actually participating in said riots. Politics are a contentious topic rife with the possibility of derailment, hence Alison stepping in. Honestly, whoever is behind the riots (which is what your comment was about) actually has no relevance on the OP’s letter because it doesn’t change anything.

                  I’m not criticizing (I’m not even American), but that’s why the treatment is different to the two comments. We’re not calling you out, we just don’t want to get too off-topic.

              2. Chicka Chicka

                I find it surprising that you wanted to do away with WTF Wednesday for the sake of offending some of your readers, but allow an OP to state that there could be blood on the floor if she has to play nice with red reps.

                1. Ask a Manager Post author

                  I’m not sure I totally understand the point; my concern with WTF Wednesday was that it could feel mean to letter-writers.

                  I read the OPs’ comment about blood on the floor as being a reference to the fact that political differences can get heated…?

                2. Lady H

                  I think you’re unnecessarily taking this comment as literal. Many people feel VERY strongly about this election and while hyperbolic, statements like this are common. I would assume that folks on the other side may say something similar about having to play with with blue reps because both sides feel so passionately about this election and feel that the stakes are particularly high.

                  FWIW, I’m not enthused by the OP’s choice of words that make light of violence, as I’m member of the LGBT community who is still reeling from the tragedy in Orlando. However, I think your comment in unkind: the reason Alison asked folks to drop the WTF Wednesday talk is because it would discourage people from writing in if they felt like they were being laughed at in the comments for having such a “WTF” situation. It wasn’t because anyone was clutching their pearls.

                3. Lady H

                  Argh, should have refreshed! I didn’t see your comment before I wrote mine, Alison, sorry to make it seem as if I was belaboring the point! I had this tab open for awhile before reading the comments.

          1. Not So NewReader

            I am thinking the employer is anticipating all this and has found a plan to make sure that people show up for work the next day. That’s what it looks like to me.

      2. LadyCop

        Sorry, but it’s not the police escalating things dear…it’s people acting like violent animals. I’ll gladly arrest the OP myself.

          1. fposte

            Ha. I remember my dad getting tear-gassed at the 1968 Chicago convention. While he was sitting politely in his lawyer suit.

            1. blackcat

              There’s the UC Davis cop who got turned into a pepper-spraying meme for basically hosing down a bunch of non-violent protestors (they were sitting, linking arms).

              I have been to protests where cops are having polite conversation about the protest, even one where a cop was jokingly thanking protestors for the overtime pay (in a friendly way).

              I have also been to protests where a cop or two is hurling insults at protestors. I’ve been called a dyke by a cop at a protest when I was just trying to step up on a curb to see better (it was curious he directed that at me, a highly femme presenting person, when I was surrounded by women who self-identify with the word dyke).

              Cops, like all people, can be super professional or downright terrible.

        1. themmases

          I don’t know if you realize this, but several of your comments today have been condescending and nasty.

          I need you to not call me “dear” in that condescending way; you don’t even know me. And I don’t need a “sorry, but” about events that I witnessed myself.

          Calling protestors “violent animals” and saying you’d like to arrest someone for wanting to attend a political rally is totally inappropriate for someone holding the job you claim to hold. In the context of talking about recent political events in Chicago, it could easily be construed as racist.

          1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

            Cosigned to all of this. I apologize for my “ugh” comment; this is what I meant to convey.

          2. anonderella

            Woah. +1 to themmases. Not going further, I know this isn’t the topic; just saying your point seems well within bounds and in my opinion is totally accurate. And thanks for being able to put that so benignly; I would not have been able to immediately find objective, pointed language for that criticism.

        2. Kit

          What an incredibly condescending comment. In no way was it constructive or factual and I fail to see why you would even make it in the first place. And, really, “violent animals”?

        3. Liana

          That’s not even a little bit true. As AAM and others have said, there are many, many documented cases where police are the ones instigating violence. If you want to arrest the OP, I’ll gladly videotape you to make sure you’re following the law yourself.

        4. Artemesia

          In the worlds I have lived in, it is the police who most often create the violence.

      3. Tegdirb

        It could be contentious but honestly, I was in Grant Park in ’08 and it was as mellow as a 1 million+ people and the President Elect hanging out can be. I can’t see why a Hillary or Trump election would be any more exciting.

    3. AMG

      She’s afraid of riots and doesn’t want to be stuck in traffic / riot activity and/or having to de at home if riots continue the next day?

        1. Wehaf

          I don’t think so – OP seems to be planning to participate in a rally or rallies, and notes that there is a possibility that there will be a riot, not that OP will participate in it.

          1. AMG

            Let me clary: She is planning on the possibility of being in the physical vicinity of riot activity. I didn’t mean she is specifically and deliberately planning on Starting Trouble.

            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              Yes, I think that’s the correct read.

              I’m going to ask that we move on from speculating on this point. The OP is welcome to clarify if she’d like, but otherwise I think we’re starting to get too far away from the question in the letter and well into speculation land.

          2. Oryx

            Yeah, it took me a couple of read throughs but I think you’re right.

            I live in Cleveland and thankfully don’t work downtown, but if I did you can guarantee I’d stay as far away from my workplace as possible during the GOP convention just because of all that could potentially go wrong during that time.

            1. Bekx

              Yeah, some of my coworkers are volunteers for the RNC, my boss being one of them. We were just talking about how she wishes she could back out now because of the potential for violence.

            2. Meg Murry

              Yes, I’m in the Cleveland area and plan to stay far far away during the RNC. I have a coworker who lives in the downtown area, and he is arranging his schedule to be able to work from home those days if necessary, in case the roads or highways are blocked (either with extra traffic or protesters).

              There were also protesters in Cleveland that shut down the highway more than once in the past year – so unless this Jamboree is at a hotel where the attendees are staying overnight, I think concern about being able to get to the event on election day or the next day in a major city is valid.

              1. (Another) B

                I’m in Philly and the DNC is here, but I don’t think it should be too bad…. right???

              2. Katie F

                I’d schedule my vacation, and then find the spot in the country that is farthest away from Cleveland and stay there for a week. Ugh, that is going to be a lot of crazy traffic and pedestrian crowds in a city that isn’t well designed to mitigate it.

    4. Alton

      I took it to mean that the OP plans to participate in a rally or protest. Even peaceful protestors sometimes get arrested if a fight breaks out around them.

  2. Roxanne

    Jamboree? Is the boss a Scout? That’s the only group I’ve ever seen use the word Jamboree.

    1. INTP

      Yeah, if this is a regional or industry term, can anyone enlighten us as to whether this is a strictly social retreat-type event, or a work event? I assumed it was a retreat/party type of thing but could be wrong.

      In either case it’s an idiotic choice of date. “Team building” on an election night is more likely to make employees hate each other than like each other and trying to do work at 10:30 pm on an election night is not going to be very fruitful.

      1. GreenTeaPot

        I cannot imagine working for anyone who wants to hold an event on Election Day, especially one called a “jamboree.” I visualize singing and hand clapping.

    2. Spooky

      That and Lester’s Possum Park from A Goofy Movie. But barring animatronic rodents on banjos, there’s no reason for that terminology.

        1. Spooky

          Ha! I’ve had the song stuck in my head since I read the post.

          “Don’t you wanna be (uh-huh) a-hangin’ from a tree (uh-huh)…”

      1. Lily in NYC

        I think I would bring a washboard or jug with me and ask if I could perform with the band.

    3. OfficePrincess

      I’ve also seen it used for some fundraisers where there’s music and food, as in, “On Saturday there will be a jamboree to benefit the Smith family with their expenses related to Susie Smith’s medical treatment. Local cover band will be performing and the family is preparing a potluck”

    4. LQ

      I actually heard this term at work today. It was specifically used as a “we are being too serious and this isn’t that serious so I’m going to lighten the mood by calling this upcoming meeting a Jamboree because no business would ever say that” we all laughed and continued talking about it.

  3. INTP

    Another factor: There is usually a deadline for registering for an absentee ballot. I’m not sure if the length of time in any state is long enough that it is already too late, but it’s something that the affected employees should look into sooner rather than later.

    Also, is it just me or is requiring remote, independent contractors to attend a company “Jamboree” (versus a work meeting) weird in the first place?

    1. OP

      OP here. The daytime events will consist of work meetings, to be followed in the evening by mandatory fun.

      1. INTP

        Hmm. That’s a pretty ridiculous day to try to have work meetings where everyone can focus AND to try to make employees bond (I’m fairly certain that mandatory fun on election night would make me hate a few coworkers for views that I could otherwise remain blissfully unaware of). And his reasoning was stupid, is there only one workable jamboree venue in Chicago?

        (I’m sure you know all this, I’m just ranting for you!)

        1. JMegan

          (I’m fairly certain that mandatory fun on election night would make me hate a few coworkers for views that I could otherwise remain blissfully unaware of)

          This, seriously.

          1. WorkingMom

            Agreed. Hosting mandatory fun on election night in Chicago is like asking for a fight to breakout between employees. (Especially with alcohol included.) Not everyone will be on the same page, tensions will be high, you’re stuck at a mandatory fun working outing with alcohol. Yep, recipe for disaster.

            1. Charlotte Collins

              I’m originally from Chicago, and I think this holds true even if the elections are only local.

              And everyone’s a member of the same party…

        2. Ama

          My org actually has a major event in late October in Chicago — we booked it over a year ago and still had a limited choice of venues/dates. I’m not surprised at all that if bossman just started looking now there isn’t much available.

      2. Murphy

        I hate mandatory fun so, so much.

        Do bosses like this not get that pissing people off is a horrible way to build a happy team culture?

        1. Lily in NYC

          My dept. actually sends calendar invites with that exact title. If they only knew how NOT FUN our mandatory fun nights are. I decided that “mandatory” doesn’t apply to me and only go to maybe one out of six.

          1. Sarahnova

            …They literally, unironically, send out invites for people to have “mandatory fun”?

            Wow.

        2. Connie-Lynne

          My “favorite” was when I was an hourly employee and we’d have mandatory fun outside of work hours where partners were not invited that the CEO didn’t want to pay for.

          1. Glen

            Ha, there are so MANY things wrong with that! Required attendance at an event outside work hours? Check! Required attendance at an event that employees are expected to pay for? Check! Uninviting partners from an event when you aren’t paying for either the event or the employee’s time? Check!

            Somehow I think I’m bothered most by that last – like the others are egregious, but it feels like another level of “I literally own you” to not allow people to bring partners to an event that is held off the clock, and that they’re paying for themselves. Ewwww.

        1. Prismatic Professional

          +1

          I can’t find my shirt with that printed on it! *frantically continues looking*

      3. Faith2014

        As a fellow citizen of Illinois, I can’t understand why anyone votes on Election Day itself (for primaries or the general). I have found early voting to be more convenient and line-free. I used to absentee vote since I travel so much for work, but prefer early voting.

        I do share your dislike of mandatory fun though.

        1. Florida

          I’m an absentee voter myself, but I thought I’d explain one reason that some people like election day voting. Let’s say you plan to vote for Candidate A. One week before election day, after you have already voted, it is revealed that Candidate A did some very bad thing that is a hot-button issue of yours. This is important enough to you that you would like to change your vote to Candidate B. Unfortunately, you’ve already voted.

          Other people are afraid of their mail vote getting lost or not counted. I present my home state’s handling of the Bush-Gore Election as Exhibit A. Some people just feel better when they see their ballot go through the machine.

          Early voting has fewer locations so, depending on where you live, it might not be convenient. For Election Day voting, your precinct is probably less than a mile from your house. Early voting doesn’t have as many locations. Again, this depends on where you live, where your voting places are, etc.

          Again, I’m an absentee voter. Only once in my life have I actually voted on election day. I’m just sharing some the common reasons that people like election day.

          1. Charlotte Collins

            My father likes to go to the polls and make sure that the candidates’ signs are the mandatory distance from the polling place.

            1. periwinkle

              My dad is a retired engineer. I would not be surprised if he goes to the polls with a measuring tape.

              1. Mallory Janis Ian

                Ha. I just read a Trip Advisor review of a cabin that my family wants to stay in, and one reviewer remarked that at every point in the cabin where two or more pieces of wood are joined together, the seams come together nearly perfectly. I thought, what an odd thing to note about the cabin; he’s either Dwight Shrute or someone’s engineer dad. :-)

                1. Cath in Canada

                  My husband’s a carpenter, and as such he takes great interest in the minute details of any kind of wooden structure. When we were in Japan last year I got so bored watching him examine every inch of massive beams and other items that I started taking photos of him in the act:

                  https://twitter.com/enniscath/status/670401730350223361
                  https://twitter.com/enniscath/status/670478904537280512

                  He spent literally hours on the carpentry displays in a castle in Kanazawa that had been reconstructed using traditional Japanese joinery methods. It was pouring rain outside and freezing cold inside. I sat in the corner with a book.

                  I don’t think he’s ever left a TripAdvisor review about joinery, but I wouldn’t put it past him!

                2. Mallory Janis Ian

                  Alison, he weren’t on to mention what a feast of construction this joinery was, withstanding years of contracting in the cold winters and expanding in the heat of many summers and still maintaining the sharp precision of the original construction. I love picturing him savoring his stay at the cabin by scrutinizing all that fine craftsmanship. :-)

                3. INTP

                  This is exactly something my engineer stepdad would comment on, and what’s more, he would genuinely think it was something that people reading the review wanted to know about.

                  He came back from Paris talking about the road surface of the Champs-Elysées. I don’t know if he noticed a store or cafe on the whole street but he’s now personally familiar with the surface of the pavement they ride on in the Tour de France, which is important for some sort of sports/engineer reason.

          2. KarenD

            Yep, I’m a Floridian and a day-of voter for all the reasons you mention, plus one more:

            I have voted absentee twice and voted early once. All three times, I walked around all day Election Day feeling like there was this giant party going on that I couldn’t attend. I just love voting Election Day, so I always make sure I can do it.

            That said, I almost always just get up early and go to the polls first thing. It’s better than rolling the dice that I will be able to get out of work (which is a busy place on Election Day) in time to run to the polls.

            1. Cath in Canada

              I voted early last year for the first time, and I really felt like I was missing out on the fun of election day voting too! (I *love* voting! My parents used to take me with them when I was a kid and I couldn’t wait to get to do it myself. I then spent 7 years in Canada as a non-citizen and used to get so frustrated at all my friends who could vote but didn’t bother). I did get to observe the count in one polling station though, which was super cool even though it took forever. I arrived about half an hour before voting ended, so I still got to feel a little bit of that exciting election day atmosphere!

              1. super anon

                Yes – I love voting! I’ve voted in every single election that I can since I turned 18 – at all levels. This year I even managed to get my boyfriend passionate enough about politics and outraged enough at Stephen Harper that he voted for the first time ever, and he was someone who swore he would never vote ever.

                1. Cath in Canada

                  I got home last night to find my postal ballot for the EU Referendum waiting for me. So I get to vote today! Yay!

                  (It’s the first time I’ve voted in a UK election since leaving in 2002 – this one just seemed extra important, and more likely to directly affect me than UK general and local elections do).

            2. Mallory Janis Ian

              I like voting on election day for the camaraderie and festivity of it, too. I like going to my polling place and seeing all my neighbors; chatting while waiting in line with them; and overhearing what-all people are saying.

              1. Elsajeni

                Funnily enough, I like voting early for the same reason — I’m a Democrat in a red district, so election day can be a little dispiriting, but early voters are disproportionately Democrat, so if I show up for early voting, it’s a PARTY!

                1. Mallory Janis Ian

                  I’m a Democrat in a red state, too. One of my favorite memories from the primary election is seeing a crusty old farmer, in his overalls, plaid shirt, and John Deere cap, with several Bernie Sanders stickers on. Typically our old farmers are very conservative and Republican, so it tickled me to see that.

              2. TheLazyB

                Wow voting in the UK is certainly different. I very rarely see anyone else at the polling station.

                Having said that, one year I worked as a polling clerk. It was hard work and a long day but I really enjoyed it!

            3. Gaia

              My whole state votes by mail and I always feel like we’re missing out.

              I want my sticker.

              1. Sydney Bristow

                I used to live in a vote by mail state and now live where I have to physically go to the polls on Election Day. I’m so sad when they don’t have stickers! I complained so much one year that my husband made me one. This year my new polling place had stickers and I proudly wore it all day.

                That said, I miss voting by mail. The voters pamphlet with all the info was so helpful. Here I’m lucky if I know what will be on the ballot and when I try to look people up they often don’t have any online presence.

                They should include stickers in the vote by mail packets.

                1. KarenD

                  I suspect this is up to the individual elections officials (in my state, most counties are served by an elections supervisor, who is herself (it’s almost always a “her” for some reason) elected. I believe they send stickers with absentee ballots in my county, and I know they give them out at early voting.

                  Our just-retired supervisor tells the story of when she first got elected, and said “those stickers cost HOW much? We can certainly get rid of this!” and was hit by a chorus of “NO NO NO NO” from all directions. Don’t mess with the stickers!

            4. TootsNYC

              Also, aren’t absentee ballots sometimes left unopened, and accessed only if the in-ballot race is close enough that the absentee ballots might affect it?

              I want to feel like I’m part of things!

            5. Snorks

              Wow, this is completely different than what it is like in Australia! (In my experience anyway)
              I think for the most part we don’t get as heated about our politicians. Polling places are just places you have to go to (It’s compulsory here) and get your name ticked off.
              I used to work as a polling officer and it made for pretty dull days.

            1. Not the Droid You are Looking For

              So evidently (and by this I mean my friend’s pictures on facebook) California sends stickers to absentee voters!

              1. Al Lo

                Yup! I’m an absentee California voter (living in Canada), and I get a sticker with my ballot.

                1. chumpwithadegree

                  I voted early in California a couple weeks ago and the Registrar had bowls of the stickers out.

                2. Jennifer

                  I live in CA and I’ve never gotten a sticker with my ballot ever :/ Must be a county thing.

                3. Mookie

                  Jennifer, that’s a thought. I’m in San Berdoo county and my first election (2000–so, a monumentally crap one that only presaged the worst crap to come) I voted absentee (as I did for all subsequent elections, so I’ve only ever been to polls as a kid) and got the sticker with the ballot but since then, as far as I can remember, I’ve never gotten another. I actually don’t like the stickers because the design is so outdated and hokey to my eyes, but it’s not nice to stiff voters with an inexpensive and easy incentive.

                  Also, as with all these discussions, let me put in a good, obligatory word for US Election Day being a proper national holiday. I know why it isn’t, of course, but I really wish we’d get our act together and do it.

              2. Witty Nickname

                Yes, but your kids can’t con the election workers out of more stickers if you vote absentee! (4 each this year. My kids are GOOD at it).

                CA makes it easy to vote by mail (you can permanently request it so you don’t have to remember to do it for each election), but I really love going to the polls on election day and bringing my kids with me so they can see the process and ask questions and we can all get a sticker. Or 4.

              1. J

                I voted earl yin our primary and they had “I Voted Early” stickers in same design as the “I Voted” stickers.

            2. HB

              You actually don’t get a sticker most places in Chicago. They had issues with people sticking them to the walls and locations asking not to be polling places anymore due to dealing with the damage. Now, at most Chicago polling places, you get a receipt of sorts.

              (Cue sad trombone music)

              1. Tris Prior

                Yep. Proof that we can’t have nice things. :( I am so jealous of everyone else’s stickers.

                1. Liza

                  I don’t remember which state I lived in at the time, but I used to get a receipt AND a sticker.

          3. Kyrielle

            People also like the actually coming-into-contact-with-other-people from what I hear.

            I’m in Oregon…vote by mail for everyone! (And if you want to be sure your ballot gets there, and save a stamp, pretty much every library and various government locations have well-secured ballot drop boxes.)

            1. Lauren

              My town once ‘forgot’ to count the absentee ballots. Doesn’t count after the fact, which is why I vote ON election day as well as EARLY so that my vote is included in exit polls that could be very wrong, but still discourage people from bothering if they hear that its a land slide even when it is very close.

              1. Kyrielle

                *noddles* I like our way of doing it better, honestly, because there is no “on election day” (although you certainly can drop your ballot off in the last wave on election day! just be prepared for lines in the evening).

              2. Mike C.

                I thought exit polling was done by interviewing people right after they left the polls.

                1. Alli525

                  It is! And it’s totally voluntary, but so widely reported as THE early indicator of winners/losers that a lot of people choose to be polled.

                2. Lauren

                  Exit polling is by news / volunteers, but lets face it not every news org (Hi Fox!) is using a statistically accurate model that isn’t biased. So when Fox says Trump is winning by 30%, a Hillary supporter might skip voting – thinking their vote won’t matter – even though only 2% of the population was asked in exit polls. My numbers are all wrong, but still I don’t trust exit polls even from 538.

            2. L

              This was so hard to get used to when I moved here- I was used to campaigning outside my polling place, following the counts, etc. Then I found out about all the safe guards in place and am now a big fan. Plus I’ve been to so many rural parts of the state where it just isn’t practical to have polling places- I mean there’s like eleven people total in Lake County!!!

              1. zd

                I loved vote by mail when I lived in OR so much, that when I moved back to CA one of the first things I did was register as a permanent vote by mail voter. I lurv it.

            3. Dot Warner

              Fellow Oregonian here. I work night shift and so it’s nice to be able to fill out my ballot when I’m actually awake and not after I’ve been working all night and then stood in line for who-knows-how-long. On the other hand, I miss my sticker. :)

        2. LQ

          For me the polling place is across the street from my office, I can poke my head in before work, no line? Vote. Line? Stop back at break or lunch. I’ve never waited more than 2-3 minutes with this. I honestly don’t even know how or where I’d absentee vote. (Not in IL)

        3. Rana

          It really varies from place to place. Early voting in Chicago is great! You can vote at a bunch of different places, on a bunch of different days. I love it – so convenient!

          But the other places I’ve lived had no such provisions; early voting mostly consisted of voting absentee via the mail, and it was always a question as to whether your ballot actually got there.

          1. Long Time Reader First Time Poster

            This makes me think of the old saying: vote early, vote often!

        4. Suspicious Voter

          I always prefer to vote in person, because I know my vote will be counted. Absentee votes don’t always get counted, and when they do it means that the election is close enough that both sides get involved, and there are just some horrible stories about what the lawyers try to pull (see this link for an example, although I doubt this behavior is limited to jut the Democrats: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2012/08/06/flashback-dems-disqualified-military-ballots-in-2000/)

          1. Artemesia

            There were many documented instances of double voting by the military in that election; apparently sending multiple ballots occurred in a number of situations. There were also instances of voting AFTER the election. (which as you recall was a very significant issue that year) Breitbart as a source is to the right of Fox news.

        5. Brett

          I worked in a county auditor’s office in Iowa for several years, which means I saw the inner politics of absentee voting and challenges.
          Voting absentee in some states (can’t speak to Illinois), _greatly_ increase the chances that your ballot is challenged.

          If you make any mistake with the order of envelopes, your signature, etc, your vote will not be counted.

          Worst thing I ever saw was the partisan officials (one from each party) uphold a challenge to a half dozen ballots from people with severe MS. Because of the MS, their signatures on the ballot envelopes were nowhere close to the signatures on their voter registrations. The officials who made the challenge specifically combed through people registered third-party who voted mail-in absentee due to health incapacitation or age infirmary, knowing they would have trouble reproducing their signature. The challenges were upheld purely as a matter of agreement between the two party officials to honor each other’s challenges if made in equal amounts.

          1. Mookie

            Brett, I’m not in Iowa but do polling officials warn the public about this or give them suggestions for how to ensure their absentee ballots will be counted? Do they publish poll data about uncounted or destroyed ballots anywhere?

            That MS situation is both heartbreaking and rage-inducing to me. That is really, truly pond scum behavior, targeting people’s votes for elimination based on their disclosed infirmities.

        6. Artemesia

          I like to vote on election day because I enjoy being a citizen and joining with my fellow citizens in this ritual of participation. And I am fairly sure my vote gets counted on election day whereas most absentee ballots are not counted; when they are, many are often disqualified for bogus reasons. I have early voted on occasion at regular machines but it isn’t quite as stirring a civic moment for me as walking to the polls on election day.

        7. Sans

          I’m in PA and there is no early voting. But I like the ritual of going to the polling place and voting on Election Day. And even if I was the OP and could do early voting, I would still want to concentrate on the election returns that night. The last thing I’d want to do is fake a smile at a work function.

      4. Artemesia

        It is hard to imagine too many things more idiotic than doing ‘team building’ or ‘client relations’ or anything designed to increase morale on a day when there will be maximine discord and contention. Somebody is going to be losing and the stakes are huge; throw in a little alcohol and see what kind of team building that gets you.

        1. Long Time Reader First Time Poster

          Yes, this seems like a horrible plan on all fronts. Horrible.

      5. Afiendishthingy

        Oh dear god. Was it the same boss’s idea to call it a jamboree? Was bacchanal too hard to spell?

        1. Mookie

          Firstly, lol. Secondly, doing so might ruin the sadistic fun they’re getting out of this jamboree announcement because attending a bacchanal, even with co-workers, is something I imagine a lot of people would love to try just once.

    2. Stephanie

      Yeah, I thought that was weird, too! But maybe these contractors are W-2 employees of an agency. FirstJob was at a federal agency and they were pretty clear about things like jamborees (lol) being open to employees only lest the contractor/employee lines become too blurred.

    3. SusanIvanova

      I’d bet a “jamboree” is just an all-hands meeting with a new name because some people never got over high school and pep rallies.

    4. Zahra

      Wait, I’m pretty sure that one single incident won’t make it so, but if there’s a precedent and habit of treating independent contractors as you would employees, couldn’t that get the company in big trouble? Surely, you can’t keep people on a 1099 if you are treating them with the same level of (non-)autonomy as employees.

      1. Meg Murry

        Yes, I was also thinking this at least violates the spirit (if not the letter) of the law regarding treating independent contractors like employees. What will the boss do if the independent contractors don’t come? Will they lose their contracts?

        1. Rana

          That’s an excellent question. Isn’t there some language about not requiring independent contractors to be at the workplace at set hours?

          1. Rana

            Just checked with the IRS, but it’s not a clear-cut yes/no situation. It’s degrees of employer involvement. So one event might not be able to tip contractors over into employee category.

          2. Ask a Manager Post author

            You can require them to attend certain events; it’s more about making them work from your workplace on the reg.

            Still, though, requiring contractors to attend a staff “jamboree” is going to raise concerns. Most companies concerned about following the IRS contractor regulations wouldn’t do it.

          3. INTP

            You definitely can if there are valid reasons, like they have to go to work during the hours that the office is open and other people are there, or if there’s a meeting held at a specific time. I’m not sure what the laws are about “mandatory fun” for contractors, but I feel like a company that would expect it probably runs afoul of the law in other ways because they’re certainly treating them like employees in spirit.

            1. Engineer Woman

              At my old workplace, contractors were excluded internal meetings where travel is required (such as this jamboree: meetings, followed by mandatory fun) as they are NOT required for them to do their jobs and any such meetings, trainings (maybe topics like “how to increase motiviation”) then treat the contractors as employees.
              Not sure if each state has varying requirements for contractors. In past, a big deal has been made of treating contractors as employees as employees have certain benefits that contractors don’t. (Think Uber)

  4. ZenJen

    besides the date clash with Election Day, I’d have a huge problem with it being mandatory–what do you do if you have outside commitments or child care needs? and, the drinking aspect would bother me–I do drink socially, but it don’t want to drink as a work event that cuts into my personal time. this event just sounds like a waste of time–what could they hope to accomplish that couldn’t be done ONLY during business hours without the imposition?

    1. Koko

      There can be a real value to having the entire company in one location for a few days, including informal gathering. My company has a 2-day/3-night retreat once a year with work-type stuff during the day and dinner/awards/dancing/drinking at night and although it’s not super convenient, it’s all but mandatory. You’re allowed to miss the trip if your manager approves it, but the understanding is that missing should be a rare event and you’ll come to most or all of them during your time with the company. It’s also the same week every year so people know not to make travel plans during that week, and you have plenty of time to work out child care arrangements. I’ve only ever heard of people being granted permission to skip it if they or a family member were in hospital or had just had a baby, and we generally pay our employees well enough that child care for a few days isn’t an excessive burden – though I also like to think we’re compassionate enough that we would either provide financial assistance (more likely) or allow someone to skip if they truly couldn’t afford it.

      Every year I have important conversations with coworkers that I rarely work with in my daily life that have been immensely valuable over the next year – and a lot of those conversations do happen at midnight over drinks. (We also have people who don’t drink – they just drink water or soda.) The conversations have helped me build relationships with distant coworkers who then become more responsive to my emails going forward, help me better understand what my coworkers do which makes it easier to understand what they need from me and what they might be able to give me, and get face-time with higher-ups who have helped shepherd and advance me in my career. We also all come back from the trip feeling re-energized and re-motivated and re(-)minded of why we work here.

      Of course, OP’s jamboree might not be nearly so well-run or helpful, but I wouldn’t dismiss out of hand the value of a mandatory all-staff retreat. Done right, they can be incredibly valuable.

      1. ZenJen

        I just came from an all-dept 2-day staff mtg the other week. was only held during business hours, and was immensely productive. we bonded during business hours without it becoming so demanding on our time–we did lunches together. any happy hours we did were on our own–not mandatory.

        1. Koko

          Oh, the social stuff isn’t mandatory. But they have high attendance because of the important networking conversations you miss out on if you don’t come (also, free dinner and free drinks!). I usually skip one of the three nights every year.

      2. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

        Yes, my last organization also hosted an annual staff gathering like this. They also would pay for 50% of the cost of a ticket for someone to come along to provide childcare.

      3. Observer

        What you describe also insures that certain people are going to be excluded from your company. For one there, you’ve got religious issues here. I can’t see this event working AT ALL for an Orthodox Jew, and I would imagine, that many Moslems and certain Christian sects are going to have issues as well. Then you have all the people who have medical issues that make a set up like this less than friendly.

        In addition, you have the people who won’t excluded because they can manage this, but do so under duress. In no way, shape or form is this “fun” or pleasurable for them. The idea of spending this much time (and if this happening over a week end, it’s more like 4 days and 3 nights) in the constant company of others with no alone time is horrifying. But they can’t tell their supervisors that, because that will brand them as not being “team players”, being “high maintenance” and unsociable and being unfit for leadership, none of which are true.

        You may consider these meetings useful despite these significant drawbacks. But, understand that if an activity needs to be mandatory to get full or almost full participation, then by definition that activity is not fun for a significant percentage of the people involved.

        In other words, “mandatory fun” is still something of an oxymoron.

        1. L

          Yeah, I have Celiac and another condition. Mandatory multi-day fun in a new location means eating a lot of peanutbutter on rice cake. And it gets super depressing to see everyone else tucking in to delicious things, and I’ve got my tupperware.

          I’ve tried a lot of things to make it easier, but it is still a hassle to be melting dayia cheese with a hotel iron, or using my own little crockpot.

          1. Koko

            My company is great about dietary restrictions. In a company of several hundred people you have all sorts of restrictions come up. There are always options, the meals are usually served in the form of many dishes that you can pick and choose from. I’ve never had to bring my own food to accommodate my wheat or soy allergies.

        2. Koko

          What are the issues for Muslims? We have several who work at our company and come to retreat every year.

          The amount of time you are required to spend with your coworkers is no more than a typical workday – the working sessions are roughly 9 to 5. They provide a lot of entertainment options in the evening because most people enjoy them. Nobody is forced to come – you can go back to your hotel room or eat dinner somewhere else if you don’t want the free dinner and free drinks and free entertainment.

          I don’t see how it’s any different than being sent to a conference where you have sessions all day and then cocktail mixers and awards shows and networking stuff at night. You are free to skip all the networking events and stay in your hotel room if you want. Do you have the same objections to conferences with people from many companies as you do to a retreat with people from one company?

          I think everyone has a really worst-case scenario idea in their head of what this kind of thing is like because it’s so often done horribly, but what I’m saying it can actually be done well without significantly imposing on anyone. There is no “mandatory fun” at our retreat (but most of us do look forward to it every year and have a really good time there, and even those who don’t love it don’t really mind a short mid-week all-expenses-paid trip anymore than they mind any other business trip).

        3. JennaLynn

          Observer, I agree with all of that. I’m glad I’m not the only one to feel that way.

    2. Brandy in Tn

      I truly hate having to socialize or do anything workingwise (even if its a “morale booster” outside of work hours. Even within. Im there to work and get paid. Not be besties. These are people Ill never see again once I leave a company. I want to gooooo home and relax. Im glad my work culture frowns upon this and just lets us work.

    3. Mando Diao

      Most of the employees work remotely. In theory, there’s value in getting everyone together so people can interact in person with the people they’ve been emailing and calling the rest of the year. However, I think things like this only work out if all of the employees live in the same state or in small neighboring ones (I’m thinking the NYC area or New England). But not across 30 different states. If you’re a believer in face-to-face interactions, you shouldn’t launch a company with remote staff.

    4. Mookie

      Good point about announcing in advance that the jumpin’ jamboree is going to be gin-soaked and lager-logged. Do they not see how uneasy this would make some people?

      1. JennaLynn

        And couldn’t they just do some kind of Skype or facetime to interact and save themselves travel and expenses, plus the date range constraints.

  5. JMegan

    How do the laws work when people are travelling from state to state? In the OP’s case, it seems that the head office, her work location, and her residence are all in the same state, so that’s easily sorted. But what about people who will be required to travel to Illinois on the day before election day, and return the day after? I imagine voting laws would apply in the state where you live, so it seems there would be some people who would not be getting X amount of time away from work on voting day if they’re coming from out of state.

    Also, OP, it sucks that you’re in this position. But, selfishly, I’m very glad that you wrote in (and that Alison published your letter), because this

    And if I have to liase, coordinate, conciliate, laugh, smile, and be perky and frictionlessly feminine for a bunch of red-state reps while the election results are coming in, I am concerned that the evening may well end with blood on the hotel bar floor. (Mine? Theirs? Does it really matter at that point?)

    just made my entire day. I do hope you get the situation resolved without bloodshed, yours or anybody else’s!

    1. 12345678910112 do do do

      I would also like clarification on traveling across state lines. I live in Maryland but work in D.C. Maryland has the 2 hour rule as described in Alison’s response, but D.C. has no laws on making voting time available.

        1. Brett

          In Missouri, if you live in Missouri and work in a neighboring state (very common with Kansas City and St Louis), the Missouri law takes precedent and your employer must provide at least 3 consecutive hours to vote (counting time off work).

          To make it enforceable against out of state employers, it is actually under criminal penalties instead of civil penalties.

    2. QualityControlFreak

      +1. I’m at home today, sick and miserable, and this made me chuckle. Thanks for that.

    3. Blue Anne

      It made my day too. I’m rooting for you, OP. Organize with your colleagues. This is ridiculous and it’s really cruddy that you have to deal with it.

    4. Anxa

      As someone who lives in a state where out-of-state students are no longer allowed to vote in the state that they live/attend school in, I’m curious as to how this affects people who live in work in College State, but who have Residence in another…especially since you can’t just claim residency in the state you attend school in.

      1. Anne

        When I was I was in college in the 80’s I always voted absentee. That’s the way I voted in my first Presidential election. It wasn’t a problem then and I assume it wouldn’t be a problem now.

    5. anon for this

      Actually, I found that super smug and condescending, and I say that as a blue-state Dem. That’s a huge reason why some people hate the dem party. Not all republicans are evil bigots and not all democrats are social justice saints.

      It was completely unnecessary to the rest of the letter and smacks of “I’m better than you because of my political leanings”.

  6. Leatherwings

    There’s no doubt that the election this year will be historic, and there’s a lot of emotion and fear surrounding it. I would be really upset if something interfered with my ability to participate in rallies.

    I also don’t want to go to any “mandatory fun” ever, much less on election night, much less when it’s called a Jamboree.

    OP, I hope you’re able to push back and get out of this nonsense.

    1. AMG

      If you happened to come down with the flu right before, that would not be the most ethical thing, but it really wouldn’t be the worst. Let a coworker hear you in the bathroom retching before you leave for home because you are So Sick. Just make sure your face is not on any news coverage of the protesting/celebrations that evening.

      1. Amber T

        99% of the time I would not recommend faking sick, but this is certainly a case where I would do it. I think it was on Chelsea Lately where they did a segment about calling out sick from work (when you’re not really sick) – no one EVER questions explosive diarrhea.

        Good luck OP, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

        1. INTP

          My personal favorite method is to not take my allergy meds or use any cough drops (I’m a cough-variant asthmatic) for a couple of days, skip concealer, stop avoiding being near my colleagues that smoke or wear perfume, and maybe spend an hour or so outside to breathe in plenty of allergens (perfume can substitute in the winter). I get so red-eyed and sneezy and cough a lot that people start telling me that I’m sick, and I can valiantly hold on for a couple of days then take my day off without being questioned.

          The Orphan Black method of drinking soap in the bathroom so you puke right on the table would also be satisfying in this particular situation, but I won’t recommend it for the sake of the OP’s health, lol.

  7. Bookworm

    This seems short-sighted on the part of the organizer.

    Even if you have a group of professionals who generally agree on politics – if you throw them together on election day as the results are pouring in, with the exhaustion from a long day of meetings and then add alcohol?

    Yeah, that’s not the sort of team-bonding you’re going for.

      1. neverjaunty

        I’m glad I wasn’t the only one thinking that Big Boss’s choice of date was not accidental.

        1. Solidus Pilcrow

          My guess is that the venue was cheap because of the election dates. Who else in their right mind would schedule a large company event with out-of-state attendees if it wasn’t dirt cheap?

      2. Amber T

        I’m absolutely a cynic and thought this. The whole non-committal shrugging over the date and the “mandatory fun” the night of just seems shady to me. If 1) there TRULY needed to be a three day retreat and 2) it HAD TO HAPPEN sometime before the year ended, I think a good boss would say recognize the fact that it’s election day, acknowledge it’s a crappy situation, and here, let’s figure out how we can make sure everyone can still vote. And NOT HAVE MANDATORY ‘FUN’ WHILE WATCHING THE RESULTS. Seriously, this dude wants crap to hit the fan.

        1. Creag an Tuire

          Perhaps the boss wants a convenient excuse/filter to get rid of all the employees who voted incorrectly.

          1. JennaLynn

            I was thinking that maybe they were going to decrease the number of “wrong” (in their mind) votes able to be cast, but your way makes even MORE sense because, yeah, people’s reactions will make it pretty obvious how most of them stand on things.

    1. CA Admin

      Good lord, this is my personal nightmare. I work in a very conservative industry with very conservative and important people (I once got the personal cell phone number of a sitting US Senator who wanted to talk to one of our partners). I, however, am a flaming liberal.

      Alcohol + all day meetings + all night social activity + election day = nightmare of unbelievable proportions. Luckily we do our firm-wide social event in late summer, but previous outings on Presidential election years have been painful, even when not actually on election day. Our CEO likes to get drunk and ask the liberal young women in the office to defend their political views. YUCK.

      1. Prismatic Professional

        Oh ew! Older Superior *getting drunk* and asking young subordinates to defend political views *at work*!

        What.

        1. CA Admin

          Yeah. That’s probably the least dysfunctional thing about this place, though. I could write a novel and it’d be titled “I Have to Laugh So I Don’t Cry”.

      2. Ama

        I’m reasonably sure that most of my coworkers are planning to vote for the same candidate I’m voting for and I still wouldn’t want to hang out with my coworkers on that day. I want to be in the comfort of my own home where I can swear at the TV commentators.

    2. Lauren

      Yes, if I were the OP who ended up having to go I would stick strictly to non-alcoholic beverages while there. There is no way I would let even a drop of alcohol pass my lips because I’d want all my wits around me to ensure my words and actions stayed safe, sane, and work approved.

    3. Jayn

      I missed the alcohol part on my first read (which as a 99% non-drinker sounds potentially bad on its own) and it still sounds like a bad idea. Either people will say things that piss others off or windup biting their tongues and sitting on a pile of resentment. I have a group of friends who can actually manage the trick of talking politics over alcohol and not having a fight, but I can’t imagine doing so on election night.

    4. themmases

      +1. If there’s one thing Facebook and this election season have demonstrated, it’s that there is still so much room for bitter disagreement even among people who will probably end up voting the same way. There are plenty of friends I wouldn’t get a drink with on election night… I’d be biting my tongue till it bled at mandatory fun and drinks with coworkers.

      1. Artemesia

        The schisms WITHIN my social and partisan circle have already made this a touchy campaign season — and these are my friends and we pretty much agree except on the candidate.

        1. L

          Yes, our liberal/progressive social group has been very quiet because we all want to stay friends.

          1. Anne

            My conservative group is the same. There are certain friends of mine whose views are similar to mine, yet still different. I just don’t want to hear it and I definitely do not want to be around any of them on election night. For example, I know for a fact that my sister and I will vote for the same candidate, however, I do not want to discuss it with her. Ande certainly not if she has been drinking. There are limits…

  8. KarenD

    I wonder how he’s planning to compensate the contractors for attending a mandatory event so far away.

    I’ve been tooling around in the Illinois statutes and I suspect (but cannot be sure) that the OP is correct: Employers cannot require employees to vote via absentee or early voting. Right after the section that specifies the two-hour window on Election Day is this provision:

    * No person or corporation shall refuse to an employee the privilege hereby conferred, nor shall subject an employee to a penalty, including a reduction in compensation due to an absence under this Section, because of the exercise of such privilege, nor shall directly or indirectly violate the provisions of this Section. This seems to say you get those two hours (if you are eligible) period.

    I also strongly believe absentee voting should be the employee/voter’s choice. Yes,. it’s a great deal more convenient, but it comes with the risk that one’s ballot will not be counted due to irregularities with mail delivery, etc. That’s never been an acceptable risk for me. I vote in-person, at the polls, on Election Day, period.

    *let’s see if these italics work! Probably not, lol.

    1. Tris Prior

      Yeah, but like Alison says, she might be SOL since technically she could go vote at 6 a.m. when the polls open, as that’s more than 2 hours before her workday starts. I didn’t actually know that bit of the law – my last job let us take up to 2 hours, paid, to vote if we wanted to. No mention that it depended on what time you started/ended work.

      I do think, given the commutes that some people have around here, that that’s unrealistic – plenty of folks have to leave at 6 a.m. to be at work by 8, between traffic and the vagaries of public transport.

    2. Ann Furthermore

      I do an absentee ballot and drop it off at an approved ballot collection center in my county. There are quite a few of them around, so it’s pretty convenient, and you don’t have to worry about the postal service not getting it delivered.

      1. Meg Murry

        In my state you can vote early at the board of elections, and it’s done using the regular (electronic) voting machines, not just paper ballots that will only be counted days later. Ever since my town had issues with 2+ hour long waits to vote, plus one year where I got the flu on election day and couldn’t vote, I’ve made a point to go to the board of elections the week before and vote, rather than deal with election day chaos.

        But I still wouldn’t want to be anywhere near my coworkers on election night. Especially not with alcohol involved.

    3. Countess Boochie Flagrante

      My very first time voting, when I was a bright-eyed and excited 18-year-old (yep, turned 18 in an election year!) wasn’t counted because lol absentee ballots.

      Logically, of course, I just accept that it was a thing that happened because even if every single absentee ballot had been counted, they weren’t enough to make a difference in how my state came out, but there’s a quiet part of me that will never not be bitter about that.

      1. OlympiasEpiriot

        …and that happens often. It is safe to assume that absentee ballots are not counted.

      2. KarenD

        LOL I still nurse a grudge about the time I didn’t get to vote in a nothingburger runoff primary (back when Florida had runoff primaries) because I moved within a month of the election. So I feel ya!

      3. Blue Anne

        I have a lot of sympathy. The same exact thing happened to me, except that I was 19.

    4. Anne

      Our service men and women who are stationed overseas vote absentee ballot. Of course, that has not always worked out very well. The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act became law in 2009.

  9. The IT Manager

    This question strikes me as odd mostly. I was in the military; I voted absentee for years. With this kind of warning and the proliferation of early voting, this work event is not preventing anyone from voting.

    If the LW is so politically engaged that she plans to riot and possibly be arrested, then she should take the day off like we’d recommend for anyone (including movie fans) “I already have immovable plans and won’t be able to travel that day.”

    1. Ann O'Nemity

      Maybe it’s less about the actual voting than the whole election day experience – rallies, parties, etc. Presidential election with no incumbent is a big real for some people. It’s annoying that the boss is planning a 14 hour mandatory work event that just happens to be on election day for no good reason. And it’s even more annoying when you know that a lot of that day is going to be spent discussing results with coworkers who have very different political views. The whole thing sucks and I don’t blame the OP for trying to look for some law or feasible excuse to get out of it.

      1. CA Admin

        The last time we had a Presidential election with no incumbent, I was in Berkeley campaigning against one of the propositions (Prop. 8–ugh, but at least it’s gone now). I have never seen such a happy riot. People honking, climbing on cars, shouting, huddled around the campus bar to watch the speeches…It was a really magical moment and went on most of the night. I’d be pissed if I had to miss something like that to hang out with coworkers! I’m actually thinking of taking a half day on Nov. 9th this year, so I can stay out celebrating if things go my way.

        1. Bowserkitty

          I can agree here – people shot off fireworks in my area that year and for the first time all year my frat boy neighbors were friendly with me and my friends. It was a nice feeling of unity and even if some don’t consider the election important, for others it is a fun way to come together. Much like sports….except with longer consequences.

          1. Artemesia

            It is a special day for us too and we always get together with friends to watch the returns.

    2. JB (not in Houston)

      I didn’t read the OP’s letter as saying that she herself plans to riot, just that she plans to attend a rally at which a riot could break out.

    3. OlympiasEpiriot

      Voting absentee has rules that vary from state-to-state and it is likely that absentee ballots end up not being counted (unfortunately). People having to travel in from different states are coming from multiple jurisdictions with differing voting regs. This mandatory ‘jamboree’ could really cause a lot of complications.

    4. Mando Diao

      I agree a bit: This question has a whiff of, “Could I use voting as an excuse to get out of this work thing? Would you buy it if an employee said this to you?” In this case, I don’t fault the OP for looking for excuses.

      1. Blue Anne

        I didn’t get any whiff of that at all. This OP sounds genuinely very passionate about politics.

        1. Mando Diao

          I’m thinking more in terms of the people traveling from out of state. The idea that the event should be canceled just so people can stay home and vote strikes me as a reach. People go on vacation and travel for work on Election Day all the time. The employees have at least four months of advance notice. There are a million reasons to cancel the jamboree but “Jane from New Hampshire doesn’t trust absentee or early voting” won’t fly.

    5. AnotherHRPro

      I’m with IT Manager on this one. I spent the bulk of my career in a corporate role where I was traveling approx. 60% of the time. So I‘m used to doing absentee voting because I always wanted to vote and knew there would be chance I would be out of town come election day. The OP is not being denied the right to vote. And work stuff happens. I get not wanting to go to a meeting called a Jamboree and I totally get not wanting to socialize with a bunch of people who you think will be supporting a different candidate come election night, but I don’t actually think your company is being unreasonable.

      1. Keeping my name

        I generally agree with this comment and to be perfectly honest, if a co-worker tried to get me to organize against the dates in a similar situation and framed it like this OP has framed it (I think there is a good chance I’ll get caught up in a riot and/or be arrested) I would sort of think she was being a drama llama and contrary for the sake of it considering she is not being denied the right to vote. I travel all the time for work and sometimes it falls on inconvenient dates. If there is something personally important to me happening during work days, I use PTO.

          1. Keeping my name

            Ok, I understand. What if the boss moves the dates and it falls on dates that are important to someone else? An anniversary? A religious holiday that is not one of the typical Christian religious holidays that are days off in American work places? A film festival that someone goes to annually? I mean, there isn’t anyway to make everyone happy when it comes to these things. “The venue didn’t have other dates available” is a relatively reasonable response in my mind, even if it’s not convenient for this OP. I’m not saying she’s wrong for being passionate about politics, I get being passionate about things, I’m just adding my view that if someone tried to rally me in the way she framed it (riot! Arrest!) I would internally be rolling my eyes and signing heavily. I hate to say it, but as evidenced by voter turn out percentages, a lot of people don’t give a crap about Election Day.

            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              It’s true that there’s rarely a way to make everyone happy. But voting is something we all (hopefully) do and election days are central to our citizenship.

            2. Chrissie

              Mandatory fun on election night, when the entire staff is passionate about politics, will be a bad situation for _all involved_. This is not equivalent for a work event which happens to clash with a personal anniversary.

            3. Mookie

              as evidenced by voter turn out percentages, a lot of people don’t give a crap about Election Day.

              Turnout in the US is bad, but that’s not any kind of proof that apathy is the reason why, particularly when employers can make it difficult for employees to vote in states which do not provide voters with protection and when we know there are party political reasons for making voting difficult and cumbersome for the “wrong kind” of voter. It may not be strictly de jure, but there are a lot of disenfranchised* Americans de facto.

              *even when adjusting for felons

              1. Keeping my name

                Oh I think there is a huge argument to be made that it’s mostly apathy. Obviously you disagree.

                1. Keeping my name

                  Which studies, exactly? I mean, I respect your *opinion, but you can’t just say “studies” and be right.

    6. Brett

      Early voting is pretty common, but half the states bordering Illinois do not allow any early voting whatsoever.

    7. Mike C.

      I would be absolutely livid if I had to be a some bullshit out of town “fun” work event during the election. Elections are much more important (yes, even World Cup/off year elections) than anything that’s going to be said at this meeting.

      1. Jadelyn

        +100 – the election results will determine the course of the entire nation (and have a major influence in world politics too) for the next four years. Whatever gets decided at this event will determine social pecking order at one company, for a few months. I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable for people to prioritize the election over that.

  10. Elizabeth West

    Does the OP work for a political organization? If not, WHY is this even happening!? This stuff does not belong at work. AT ALL. I would quit if my company tried to do this.

    1. Elizabeth West

      Wait, never mind–I read it as the jamboree were BECAUSE of Election Day, not that it coincided with it.

      Still, very poor planning on their part. People aren’t going to be engaged in boring work stuff when they’re concentrating on the possible dystopian future of the country.

      1. AMG

        It does make you wonder though if Boss thought this would be a fun way to spend the evening with coworkers. It’s just so odd.

        1. Murphy

          I mean, in one of my old jobs my colleagues and I always spent election nights together. Partly because we were often working (briefing on the results), but other times just because it was fun. But those other nights were self-organized, not boss-organized. That’s the difference and the line that’s being crossed.

  11. NoFightLeft

    OP, AAM’s advice to get your coworkers to push back together is smart. From what you said about colleagues’ reaction, it sounds like nobody likes your boss’s scheduling shenanigans (Jamboree, my tush). (I’m sorry, I’m CDN and I can’t believe this…? Pretty sure any company that tried to force its employees to work through the entirety of an election day here would get hauled into court and lose, though that wouldn’t stop some from trying.) If your boss refuses to budge, maybe you could all mysteriously get the ‘flu on election day? (I know, I know, nothing to stop him from firing all of you, but…WOULD he? Your call?) This whole question got my hackles up, especially the bit about the expectation to be “frictionlessly feminine”.

    Huh…”red state” clients…workers unhappy about being made to work election day, Chicago, unilateral decision on the date and the all-day “mandatory” meetings and “mandatory fun” until long after the polls close…now I’m wondering if your boss knows he has politically engaged staff and is deliberately trying to prevent you all from voting/engaging in a cause he himself doesn’t support. Whether for “optics” or because he’s a petty jerk, doesn’t matter…

    1. esra

      It wouldn’t have been the same, posting the elevator scene gifs from The Shining during the last (Canadian) election at a work party.

        1. NoFightLeft

          The Red Miles ;)

          …ironically the party that had the flood is now talking election reform here. Proportional representation or priority voting…can’t come soon enough. “First past the post” is a pile of moose poop.

          1. Canadian

            -1 First-Past-The-Post makes sense because Canada is very lax in terms of political party standards. If we had proportional representation, we’d have too many parties in the House of Commons that don’t actually take politics seriously and don’t care about all of Canada. One narrowly focused party is enough. I hope our government has the sense to never bring in proportional representation.

    2. Talvi

      I’m CDN and I can’t believe this…? Pretty sure any company that tried to force its employees to work through the entirety of an election day here would get hauled into court and lose, though that wouldn’t stop some from trying.

      They would – we have a federal law here requiring employers give people 3 hours time on election day to go vote (paid time and they can’t penalize you for utilizing this) – penalties for employers not doing this include fines and/or jail time.

      1. NoFightLeft

        Eyyy, I had no idea! (And I was an election monitor that one time…)

        Go, Canada?

    3. Not So NewReader

      Someone could have a field day with speculation about the boss’ attempt at manipulating election outcomes.

      I don’t know OP, maybe you could try something like “Some people will not be able to vote because of the jamboree. This could make bad press for our company if someone complains. Is this a road we want to start down?”

    4. Katniss

      I wondered if this was on purpose as well, figuring he could keep his staff from voting at all.

      1. Random Lurker

        I used to live across the street from a cemetery in Chicago. I only had neighbors on Election Day.

  12. Grey

    I’d try to reschedule this. Maybe everyone could just meet at next year’s company hootenanny.

    1. Prismatic Professional

      *snorggle* (snort/giggle) hootenanny! Oh man, at least my sinuses are clear now…

  13. Cath in Canada

    Ugh, this would make me so mad. On our last federal election day in October, I took the day off to volunteer with my candidate’s campaign even though I was swamped with a cluster of deadlines and beyond busy. I knew I’d lose the whole of the next weekend to work as a result, but it was VERY important to me. I plan to do this for every election from now on.

    I think if this ever happened to me, I’d try to get a group of colleagues to push back and if that didn’t work I’d for sure be “sick” that day.

    Good luck, OP!

    1. NoFightLeft

      Right?! +1 to “everyone in the office mysteriously gets sick, oops, sorry Boss”

      For all they like to yell about being A Democracy, a lot of American bosses sure seem to think they can act like feudal lords when it comes to their employees’ rights, but this beggars belief…

  14. OlympiasEpiriot

    I looked at the links to the actual code in that voting laws link you included and most (but not all) specify Election Day, not just voting, although the Day-Of aspect is certainly implied by context. So, that indicates that the boss can’t make someone in those states be out of town and unable to vote in their legal polling location. It seems to me if a business has to follow labor and tax law in the state an employee is working from, they have to follow other laws, too.

    [Side note: Interestingly, California also says that you can’t be forced to do militia service on Election Day unless there is “war or public danger”. Not that has anything to do with the question at hand.]

      1. OlympiasEpiriot

        I read her interpretation as being specific to the OP’s case for Illinois.

        Reading the IL code at that state-by-state link doesn’t seem to give any time off from work at all unless you are an election judge. I think there must be another page that should have been linked in that chart.

          1. OlympiasEpiriot

            My apologies, I meant to make it clear I was wondering about the people in other states Big Boss is demanding turn up at the big hoe-down. Gala. Um, jamboree.

            Some of those states are explicit about getting time off *on* Election Day to vote *on* Election Day. But, those out-of-staters are independent contractors, so, well, nvrmnd. I think I really didn’t have a question.

            More apologies.

  15. Erin

    Ugh, how disappointing for the OP.

    It DOES sound like you and your coworkers are all on the same page, though. I would definitely, definitely try to group everyone together to push back.

  16. Student

    I have done absentee voting in Illinois. It was not painful. I think at the time you needed to request the ballot in advance, if I remember, so find out what the due dates are! You might ask permission to send out a (NON-PARTISAN) heads up via email about voting options available to the company staff and contractors attending the event.

    1. Student

      Supplement – a plug for the state of Washington. Washington mails out ballots that you can return via mail to EVERYONE and it is fabulous. You don’t have to go to a polling place (but they are available for those that can’t get or don’t want the mail ballots). I have no idea why more states don’t do this; it is the greatest thing ever.

      1. KTB

        Oregon does the exact same thing. I’ve never set foot in a polling place, as I’ve spent my entire voting life in the PNW.

    2. Florida

      I vote absentee, but I would not want to attend an event on election day. I’m a political junkie, so on election day night you will most likely find me at a candidate’s victory party. I’ll be updating the elections websites every 30 seconds to see the updated polls. The last thing in the world I want to be doing is jamboree-ing with co-workers.

  17. Olivia

    Many years ago I tried to do absentee voting in PA because of work commitments. My absentee ballot was rejected (I was not even aware this was a thing that could happen, but apparently it can). The only reason I actually found out that it had been rejected was because a newspaper doing a story on the rejections called me for a quote and I was like, “wait, what happened?” I ended up having to take time off work to vote on polling day. So the idea that absentee ballots will be a solution for all of the traveling employees is not really true.

    1. LCL

      My state has gone to mostly all vote by mail and doesn’t call them absentee ballots anymore. The voter used to have to give a reason to request an absentee ballot. I don’t like vote by mail for many reasons, which are political in nature. I have had 2 mail in ballots rejected because my signature didn’t match the signature on file closely enough, too much keyboard time for me has made my handwriting even worse.

      I wouldn’t be very receptive to a last minute vacation request because it’s election day. But I also wouldn’t schedule someone to work 8:30AM to 10:30PM for non emergency work. That is the real outrage here, the election day part is just BS to me.

      1. Olivia

        I now live in CA where you can vote by mail without a reason. But in PA – at least at that time, I don’t know if it’s still true – you needed a reason and that reason could be rejected. And the person deciding that might have a different political view that you. Like I said, I only found out about it because of a reporter digging into what was happening.

  18. Gaara

    If you want to push back on this, I’d try the morale angle. You have a big work retreat party in order to improve morale. But if everyone is pissed off that they have to be there on election day/night, it’s going to have the opposite effect.

    That said, if they already spent money on this and can’t get it back, I think you’re out of luck.

    I also wonder if this is actually intentional and intended to get people worked up. It’s just such a weird choice; it’s hard for people to be that clueless (although my current boss very well may be, albeit on different issues).

    1. Willis

      If the company already has those dates booked at the venue and can’t change them, maybe a well-reasoned argument from a group of employees could at least get the boss to agree to wrap up early on the 8th. If it’s a 3 day event, won’t there be at least 1 other night for group dinner and schmoozing? Like others have said, the point of the team building is going to be lost if people are distracted and/or angry at each other!

  19. NASA

    I WANT MY STICKER!!!

    My company had an event the day of our primary and I woke up early to make sure I got my vote in before our flight to headquarters. I was so happy to see so many of my coworkers arrive at our meeting with “I Voted!” stickers.

    I hope your coworkers can band together and they’ll postpone till next year :)

  20. Applesauced

    “There ain’t no party like a Liz Lemon party, ’cause a Liz Lemon party is mandatory”

  21. KimberlyR

    Leaving aside the election stuff (not that you can, because it is obviously a Big Deal for the OP and at least some of her coworkers), I wouldn’t want to attend something like this. I’m fine with work functions and even retreats or other “team building” events in moderation. But to require all the employees AND contractors to show up for such a long day? That sounds miserable and I doubt most people will be invested enough in it to participate well. Which means it will be even more Not Fun. Hopefully enough people can push back that the boss will rethink the original idea (and the date!) and come up with a better event. And that he will also stop calling it a jamboree!

  22. Chinook

    OP, are you sure that the person organizing this meeting didn’t intentionally pick this date? It happened like that in Canada before our last Quebec Referendum – most of the military posted in Quebec were conveniently sent on training maneuvers outside the province that week (maybe for the unspoken purpose that, if Quebec voted to separate, they wouldn’t be able to lay claim to any government resources, like military personnel and equipment, without negotiating?). Of course, they were all told to vote at the early polls and it is the military so it is not like they get a choice to say no to this request. I don’t know if it affected the outcome but, considering it came out 51% “no,” it may have meant any apathetic pro-separation soldiers may have not bothered to vote.

    1. Lady H

      I get the sense that the boss might be more inept than devious (‘all the other dates were booked’), mainly because I’ve worked for companies before that always did things last minute and totally missed out on that whole ‘early bird gets the worm’ adage we’ve all heard since kindergarten.

      I’m assuming that in this case, the Big Boss decided “we should have an event and we shall call it a jamboree so everyone knows it will be FUN” a couple weeks ago and didn’t realize that you need to plan ahead by months (years for bigger events), so they were stuck with the election day option because no one in their right mind would book a work event for that day.

      1. NoFightLeft

        I mean…I have been leaving so many cynical comments about this guy…but deep down Hanlon’s Razor proooobably applies here. (Then again, it is American politics and the dude hobnobs with political reps from a side of the spectrum it sounds like OP and her colleagues do NOT support. Whenever I think American politics, baby’s first word association is ‘cutthroat’…)

        But as Captain Awkward says “intent is not magic”, and in this case? It really LOOKS like a boss trying to prevent his opposite-side-of-the-aisle politically engaged staff from going to the polls to exercise their rights. I’d be saying this if it were a Dem boss trying to organize “mandatory fun” (blegh) to keep their GOP-leaning staff from voting, too. The optics are terrible, and maybe like someone said upthread, the OP can use that to their advantage.

  23. Milton Waddams

    Perhaps this is a way to figure out whom to fire?

    Boss knows that there are some interpersonal tensions at work, but doesn’t know who the troublemakers are; so stick them in a room with alcohol on a troubling day, and the troublemakers will out themselves.

    Bad logic, but I’ve seen similar.

  24. Hannah

    I always vote with absentee ballots. It’s the best! Don’t have to worry about getting to the polls but I still get to cast my vote.

    1. TootsNYC

      and they don’t get counted unless they’re needed (i.e., the votes in by regular ballot are too close).

      It still “counts,” but I don’t enjoy it as much.

      1. Creag an Tuire

        That’s actually a common urban legend — all valid absentee votes are counted. It’s true that they’re not generally counted on election day, and so if the race is not close, a candidate will often concede the race before the absentees are voted — but that’s just a social nicety, it doesn’t halt the vote count.

        1. Chrissie

          maybe this posts too late, but I am curious. That urban myth of not counting mail votes is completely new to me. I don’t live in the US, but in our country, the exact number of votes is meaningful beyond who wins the majority. So, it counts for seats/funding whether you lost with 21% or 22% for example. Is this not a thing in the US?

          1. Natalie

            It sounds like you might live somewhere with a parliament. Elections in the US are winner take all, so the percentage by which you lose doesn’t affect any other seats. It does matter in some cases – certain margins trigger automatic recounts, and as a party you may need to get a certain number of votes to be on the next ballot and/or get government campaign funds.

  25. TootsNYC

    “As a general rule when you’re trying to get your employer to change a decision, the more people you can get to speak up, the better your chances.”

    Also—the more you can make your argument be about your employer’s goals, the more likely you will succeed.

    So this:
    “You should also point out that the company jamboree (jamboree — ugh) is going to be utterly undermined by how distracted people will be by the election.”

    Add in any sort of possible public relations problems, if they truly exist (don’t get hyperbolic or exaggerate, bcs you’ll undermine the whole thing).

  26. Marie

    I think that, aside from all of the voting issues (which are valid!) the best way to get this moved is probably to focus on the distraction.

    I have actually run into that before–during the last World Cup, as an American I got to pick the dates for something happening for a few hours in the evening in Paris, France. I of course knew that the World Cup was a thing but I did not properly assess what was going on with the French team–they ended up doing much better than anticipated and my scheduled time ended up conflicting directly with one of their games! It wasn’t mandatory so bunch of people cancelled and the people who did show were VERY distracted. Do not recommend!

    1. ginger ale for all

      I think that is the way to go. I had a boss once who just scheduled a room with a tv in it for the employees to go to to watch the tv reporters give the election results on one election day. She just said get the work that needs to be done, done and if you want to duck into the room when you have the time, feel free to do so. She knew she had a losing battle and just decided to to make the day as easy as possible for us. We appreciated her SO VERY MUCH!

  27. Brett

    Also remember that many states, including three states bordering Illinois, do _not_ have early voting. You must have a legitimate excuse to vote absentee and filling in a false excuse is considered election fraud.

    Traveling for work is a legitimate excuse, but states have specific rules on what is traveling for work, e.g. for Missouri you must be absentee from your county of residence for the entire election day (not just when the polls are open) with no possibility of returning to your home jurisdiction to vote. If you have employees in Missouri, Kentucky, or Michigan who live in reasonable day trip commute times, they might not be able to vote absentee (at least not without committing election fraud).

    1. Brett

      (Or you might need to be prepared to pay for two nights of hotel for those employees, so that they are legitimately out of jurisdiction for all of election day. Not sure if Kentucky and Michigan are as strict as Missouri.)

  28. Carolum

    Aside from everything else, I just want to thank them for being civically engaged and interested!

  29. Julie Noted

    As a foreigner, leaving aside all my concerns about the US electoral system (a aaaallll of them) – a 14 hour work day? Mandatory hanging around people drinking alcohol? WT?

    1. LibraryChick

      I have worked at a couple of different companies where heavy drinking was a norm, and considered a team building activity.

    2. Kay J

      Heavy drinking with co-workers as borderline mandatory social activity is deeeefinitely not U.S. only.

  30. Fluffer Nutter

    I have to respectfully disagree with AAM in that IMHO it’s never a good idea to plan to maybe/hopefully get arrested and miss work. OP seems to be spoiling for a fight, so she’ll probably get one. That said, “perky and frictionlessly feminine” might be the most on point, apt turn of phrase I’ve seen. OP-please trademark! I’m plagiarizing it! I have SO been there. Ugh. Good luck.

    1. Biff

      I found the phrase “perky and frictionlessly feminine” rather more worrisome than the boss’s spectaculatrly idiotic planning. It suggests that she is going to spend the day being harassed and being required to respond to crudeness with flirty vivaciousness.

      Barf.

      1. Alli525

        Right? Because how dare women have political opinions that are just as valid as anyone else’s, plus the right to verbalize them? We’ve only been allowed to vote for ~100 years, what could we possibly (with our tiny lady brains) know about politics? I feel so bad for the OP if she’s one of the only liberals in a sea of (ostensibly) Tr*mp supporters.

      2. NoFightLeft

        Or more subtly but almost as skin-crawling, being mansplained at by rich, entitled right-wingers about [subject related to women’s/PoC’s/LGBTTQ persons’ bodies and/or personhood and/or survival] and how it’s really all just the PC police and people get so hung up on these “special interests” and blah blah blah what about my yacht and my mansion in the Bahamas, THAT’S what’s important really, because bootstraps.

        I’d bite my tongue in half, personally, if my boss forced me to go and “be nice” to people like that in the way they expect (i.e. nod, agree, make little lady-noises like that’s the most revelatory and interesting thing you have EVER heard, and do not for the love of god ever question dudes like this because they will get NASTY if you imply they’re not always 1000% right). OP, if you don’t find some way to get out of this, know that most of the AAM crowd is pulling for you in spirit and if someone feels you this poop and then forces you to smile, they deserve the most empty-eyed horrifying death-rictus you can conjure.

        “This is a smile. I’m smiling.”

    2. Natalie

      I’m not sure the OP was speaking seriously, it sounded like the kind of flat sarcasm I use a lot.

  31. LibraryChick

    I have never heard of the description “frictionlessly feminine”, but I will be using it in the future.
    All in all I think the whole plan of the jamboree and alcohol on election day is asking for trouble. Once, when I was sitting at an airport bar waiting for my work flight on election day, I had a couple of complete strangers (drunk) try to pick a fight with me, because they thought I “looked liberal”. I got up and took my sober self to another part of the airport immediately.

    1. schuylersister

      They thought you “looked liberal.”

      I just…wow.

      That being said, I’ve felt like I stand out sometimes in rural red states (although I’m from one originally) because my look and style are so different from everyone around me. Walking into a South Carolina diner wearing all black and big sunglasses (with my similarly dressed dad), we were looked at as if we were aliens with “City Slicker” stamped on our foreheads.

  32. Navy Vet

    Am I the only one who gets a voter suppression-y vibe from this “Jamboree”?

    Seriously though, what’s a jamboree? Is there Jam there? I might go if there is actual jam….

  33. Fluffer Nutter

    These stories make me not miss the private sector AT ALL. Government= no tax money to be spent on alcohol so at the holiday party managers buy you 1 round out of their pockets and you’re on your own. Consequently everyone goes home sober at 7pm. My current non-profit is so poor we get our office furniture at a thrift store, so ditto above. Brilliant!

  34. Betty (the other Betty)

    Someone else probably already spotted this but:

    Independent contractor and mandatory meeting don’t go together. The boss can invite the contractors and hope they attend, or can offer to pay them to be there and make that a condition of continuing the contract (if the contract allows), but the boss can’t just decree that an independent person do anything.

    1. Betty (the other Betty)

      Or can they? I guess it depends on the contract. Mine specifically says that I have the right to refuse projects.

  35. Jill

    Oy! Expecting employees to drink – a lot – on an election night where people will undoubtedly be watching election results and getting emotional over them? OP just may get to see that jamboree turn into the riot she’s been planning for!

    I agree with AAM – push back. Hard. With a group. Just the perception of crafting an event that makes it hard for people to vote, help at the polls, do last minute campaign work, or even celebrate/mourn the results of a day that is at the core of who we are as Americans is just going to be a disaster for morale if nothing else.

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