SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – After a presidential election that saw record turnout in California and across the country, a Bay Area lawmaker is seeking to turn Election Day into a holiday.
Assemblymember Evan Low (D-San Jose) introduced the proposal, known as Assembly Bill 53, during the first day of legislative session on Monday.READ MORE: Newsom Enlists California Highway Patrol To Help Stop Smash And Grab Robberies
Looking to save costs, AB53 would move the Presidents’ Day holiday in February to Election Day in November during even-numbered years. According to Low’s office, previous Election Day holiday proposals were held up in the Assembly Appropriations Committee due to “significant” costs to the state, estimated at $11 million.
“California has always been a leader when it comes to reducing barriers in voting, but this is sadly one instance in which we are behind the curve,” Low said in a statement.
Low also cited numerous large companies, such as Salesforce and Twitter, that already offer Election Day off to their employees. “If two of the most successful companies in the world are willing to recognize the importance of voting, we as a state should be able to understand that an Election Day Holiday will reinforce our civic duty to engage in the electoral process and have our voices heard,” the assemblymember went on to say.READ MORE: COVID: Omicron Variant Has Some Bay Area Families Revising Holiday Travel Plans
The Election Day holiday proposal comes on the heels of record turnout in the 2020 election where more than 17.7 million ballots were cast amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to the California Secretary of State’s office. Heading into last month’s election, more than 22 million Californians were registered to vote, also a record.
Current California state law allows for employees to take up to two hours from work to cast a ballot without loss of pay.
If approved, California would join 18 states and the territory of Puerto Rico in recognizing Election Day as a holiday.MORE NEWS: Vietnam Airlines Launches First Non-Stop Service From SFO To Ho Chi Minh City
It is unclear when AB53 would be considered by the legislature.