City Council Introduces Legislation to Make Election Day an Official Holiday for Government Employees
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To help more individuals engage in civic life, Atlanta City Council members Amir Farokhi, Jennifer Ide and Matt Westmoreland introduced legislation on Monday to make Election Day an official holiday for city employees.
“Atlanta has some of the worst wait times in the state as well as polls that close early relative to the national average,” Ide said in a statement. “This bill would ease some pressure on employees struggling to cast their vote amidst these and other obstacles.”
The legislation comes on the heels of the contentious 2018 gubernatorial race where voting rights in Georgia were under national scrutiny. According to council materials, the bill’s sponsors believe establishing the holiday is an important step towards addressing these challenges.
“Ultimately, the fight for voting rights must be won at the state and federal level,” Farokhi said in a statement. “But that’s no excuse to ignore the issue altogether. Through this bill, we can make a difference for Atlanta workers. We can make a statement that our city doesn’t represent the same values as our state when it comes to voter discrimination.”
Although the legislation is limited to city employees, the sponsors hope other organizations and communities will use this as an example. “We’re leading from the front on this,” Westmoreland said in a statement. “Hopefully Atlanta can be a positive example for others. In time, we’d like to see other jurisdictions and even private companies extend the holiday to their employees.”