SACRAMENTO—Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) announced that his proposal to create an Election Day Holiday was approved by the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee today. Assembly Bill 674 would establish a state holiday on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November to coincide with every statewide general election.
“When less than half of the electorate casts a ballot, our democracy suffers,” said Assemblymember Evan Low. “Establishing an Election Day Holiday will demonstrate California’s 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.
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.
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. Currently, 14 states as well as the territory of Puerto Rico make Election Day a holiday.
Assembly Bill 674 will be heard in Assembly Governmental Organization Committee next.