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News & Announcements

December 11, 2019
Half Day Off to Vote Approved For Santa Fe Employees

Santa Fe is taking a leadership role in encouraging voter turnout in the 2020 Elections. There is a proposed change to the 2020 Employee Calendar that includes identifying Tuesday, November 3, 2020 as a half-day paid holiday for Election Day.  This will allow employees time to get to the polls to cast their votes and will minimize the challenges of scheduling conflicts during regular work shifts.  Additionally, some of our City employees have second jobs.   

The fiscal impact would be approximately $30,400.  This number was derived at by obtaining the actual cost of the overtime paid for the similar 4-hour holiday on the current 2019 Employee Calendar, Fiesta Friday.  This number is somewhat conservative because we have a large public safety presence during Fiestas, which increases overtime costs.  The need for additional public safety resources is less likely for Election Day compared to Fiesta Friday, therefore potentially decreasing the $30,400. 

“Voter suppression is happening all across our country, including New Mexico,” said Mayor Webber. “We want to make sure that all our employees get enough time to vote, no matter where they live or how long their commute. This is a small price to pay to ensure that our people are able to make their votes count.”

This proposal adds an additional 2 hours to what is already granted pursuant to state statute.  Because City Council approves the Employee Calendar annually, 2020 can be a year in which we can gather data to determine if the additional 2 hours made a positive impact on voter turnout.  Therefore, it is not a multiyear commitment.

According to information published on electionday.org, in the last mid-term election, only 36.4% of the voting-eligible population cast ballots, which was down 41% in 2010 and was the lowest turnout rate in 70 years.  Additionally, it stated that the most common reason that nonvoters gave was that they simply did not have time to vote due to work or school conflicts.  Allowing more time for employees to exercise their rights to vote will foster the purpose of civic engagement and support the movement to increase voter turnout.

“The League encourages voter participation and civic engagement,” said Hannah Burling, President of New Mexico League of Women Voters. “We support the mayor in ensuring that there are no roadblocks to increased voter turnout.”

Currently the schools are scheduled to be closed all day Election Day. The City would keep open Libraries and Recreational Facilities.

Michelle Gutierrez, AFSCME President stated, “The AFSCME Local 3999 board approves the idea of extending the voting leave amount of hours from 2 hours to 4 hours in the hopes that it will encourage all of our members to vote for all elections especially when the turnout is expected to be great.   Many members live outside city limits and may have to travel up to 2 hours in some cases before they can vote from their home district.  The last general election had long lines and many of our members were in line longer than the 2 hours that was allotted to us.   We understand that voting is a privilege and we encourage our members to vote however long it takes.”

Tony Trujillo, President of SF Police Officer Union stated, “We do not have an issue with the proposed two hours of additional time to vote.  It would benefit his members that may live in other surrounding areas.” 

More information on vote.org and electionday.org 

 

Regards,

Lilia Chacon

Communications Director

City of Santa Fe

200 Lincoln Ave.

Santa Fe, NM 87501

O: 505-955-6045

C: 505-670-0719

E: [bot protected email address]

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