Assemblymember Low Introduces Bill to Create an Election Day Holiday
SACRAMENTO—Today Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) introduced a bill to make Election Day a holiday in California. Assembly Bill 2165 would establish a state holiday on the first Tuesday in November of each statewide or national election year. The bill is co-authored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland).
“When less than half of the electorate shows up to vote, our democracy suffers,” said Assemblymember Evan Low. “Establishing an Election Day Holiday will demonstrate California’s strong and unwavering commitment to an engaged electorate and ensure more Californians have the opportunity to vote.”
In 2014, California saw historically low voter turnout, with just 25% of registered voters participating in the primary, and just 42% of registered voters participating in the general election. According to a study from the Pew Research Center, work and school conflicts were the most common reason cited by eligible voters who did not vote in 2014.
The holiday not only expands access to voter participation, it also draws attention to midterm elections and commits the state to civic engagement and education. Fourteen states including Puerto Rico made Election Day a holiday.
Making Election Day a holiday will ensure more people are able to participate in the electoral process by giving them the time and opportunity to vote. This is especially important to low-income voters because it removes financial roadblocks that keep them from taking unpaid time-off to vote, and will ultimately help engage more voters.
Assembly Bill 2165 will be heard in the Assembly Elections Committee over the next few months.