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CA Lawmaker Proposes Making Election Day A Holiday

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A California lawmaker proposed a bill to make Election Day a national holiday.

California assembly member Evan Low proposed Assembly Bill 674, which would require that schools and state workers get a day off on Election Day in November. Private businesses would be exempt, as they are under all national holidays.

"I think this will ensure that more people will be able to participate in the electoral process," Low told the San Jose Mercury News.

Current state law in California allows people to take up to two hours off from work without loss of pay to go vote, according to the Los Angeles Times. Low's bill would expand that into an entire day.

"Too many people who want to vote face barriers due to work and school obligations," Low said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In 2015, Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont proposed making Election Day a national holiday through his "Democracy Day" bill.

"We should not be satisfied with a 'democracy' in which more than 60 percent of our people don’t vote and some 80 percent of young people and low-income Americans fail to vote," he said at the time.

But the Senate never approved the "Democracy Day" bill for a vote, according to GovTrack.

According to The Washington Post, private companies are increasingly giving their employees the day off to vote, including General Motors, Patagonia, Western Union, and cybersecurity company Distil Networks.

"Once every couple of years we get a chance in the U.S. that many people around the world don’t ever get the opportunity to experience," said Rami Essaid, the CEO of Distil Networks. "And that is to choose who will represent us nationally and globally."

Sources: San Jose Mercury News, GovTrack, Sen. Bernie Sanders, The Washington Post / Photo credit: KNTV

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