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City To Study Making Election Day A Paid Holiday

A voter casts their ballot on the first day of early voting at the Hamilton County Board of Elections, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in Cincinnati.
John Minchillo
/
AP
A voter casts their ballot on the first day of early voting at the Hamilton County Board of Elections, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Council has OK'd a motion asking city administrators to study making Election Day in November a paid holiday for city workers. A similar ordinance for workers to trade Election Day for President's Day was held on the agenda.

The city's labor unions apparently don't favor swapping President's Day for Election Day. City administrators could consider setting up a floating holiday where employees could decide if they want to trade another holiday for Election Day.

Council Member Amy Murray opposes any such change, saying city workers have plenty of opportunities to vote.

"Ohio has one of the most generous voting laws in the nation," she says. "Our employees already have 28 days to vote, so they don't have to take PTO time on that particular day ... You can also order the ballot and vote from home - from your own kitchen table and send it in. And on Election Day, there are 13 hours of voting available." 

Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld, who - along with Council Member Chris Seelbach - first proposed the idea, says the goal is to increase voter participation. 

"I haven't heard a bunch of good explanations with what's wrong with increasing the chance to vote? What's wrong with increasing access to the ballot?" he says. "Maybe there's a healthy amount of it, and we end up creating more. What's wrong with that?" 

Sandusky, Ohio, recently decided to give employees Election Day off instead of Columbus Day. In Cincinnati, city employees use the Columbus Day holiday on the Friday after Thanksgiving. 

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Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.