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Should Election Day be a holiday?

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Tuesday, August 5th, 2008 at 2:10 pm in Election reform, Propositions.

Coming soon to a department store parking lot near you is a new initiative petition that would make Election Day a state holiday.

Proponents argue that such a holiday would improve turn-out. Voters could freely show up at their precincts without the hassle of leaving home early or getting out of the office in time to vote.

Sounds good to me. I’m heartily in favor of anything that boosts voter turn-out and gives me a day off at the same time. Oh, wait, I guess I would be working anyway.

Read more for the press release from the Secretary of State on the initiative:

Election Day Holiday Initiative Enters Circulation

Election Day Holiday. Initiative Statute.

SACRAMENTO – Secretary of State Debra Bowen today announced that the proponent of a new initiative may begin collecting petition signatures for his measure.

The Attorney General prepares the legal title and summary that is required to appear on initiative petitions. When the official language is complete, the Attorney General forwards it to the proponent and to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State then provides calendar deadlines to the proponent and to county elections officials, and the initiative may be circulated for signatures. The Attorney General’s official title and summary for this measure is as follows:

    ELECTION DAY HOLIDAY. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Declares a state holiday on Election Day – the Tuesday following the first Monday in November during even-numbered years. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state costs once every two years of up to $20 million. (Initiative 08-0013.)

The Secretary of State’s tracking number for this measure is 1345 and the Attorney General’s tracking number is 08-0013.

The proponent for this measure, Roy Benson, must collect signatures of 433,971 registered voters – the number equal to 5% of the total votes cast for governor in the 2006 gubernatorial election – in order to qualify it for the ballot. The proponent has 150 days to circulate petitions for this measure, meaning the signatures must be collected by January 2, 2009.

The initiative proponent can be reached at royrbenson@stateholiday.net. No phone number was provided.

To view this and other Secretary of State press releases, go to http://www.sos.ca.gov/admin/news-releases.htm.

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  • John W.

    I have a strong preference for election day voting over early voting and mail-ins (except for people who really need them). A holiday would make this more practical and might improve participation by creating a lot of excitement around the idea of this being a day devoted to doing your civic duty. It could even be a day when people would be encouraged to volunteer for something in addition to voting. On the other hand, although low turnout is a huge concern, I have mixed feelings about jumping through hoops to drag unmotivated people to the polls to vote on issues and candidates about which they probably know little or nothing.

  • http://halfwaytoconcord.com Bill Gram-Reefer

    Could it be a Saturday instead of another paid holiday for State and County employees?

  • Sylko

    Well, I’ll have to work Election Day anyway as an Elections Official, BUT other countries vote on Saturday. Why not just move the voting to Saturday, instead?