The City Commission voted unanimously to making election day an official paid holiday for City of Tallahassee employees during their April 7 meeting.
The vote came after a discussion related to City Commissioner Dianne William-Cox’s proposal to give incentives to employees who vote. However, Commissioner Jack Porter questioned the legality of such incentives and City Attorney Cassandra Jackson said she would have to research the issue.
Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey originated the idea via a statement on his twitter account last month.
“With the recent proliferation of voter suppression attempts across the country, I believe as the capital city of Florida we must do everything possible to remove barriers to voting. That is why at our meeting today I proposed making Election Day a City of Tallahassee holiday,” said Dailey.
Election day falls on the first Tuesday after the first Monday on even-numbered years. Currently, the City of Tallahassee observes 10 paid holidays, one floating holiday, and two personal days. The City’s current system for election days allows supervisors to flex the workday to give employees time to vote or to allow employees to make up the time during another workday. If a City employee does not have any available leave and the workday cannot be flexed, that employee must leave without pay for the time they use to vote on election day.
The inclusion of election day as a paid holiday will cost an estimated $67,000 that is not in the budget during election years.
Many states have already made election day a holiday for City employees including Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia. Other states allow employees to take time off from work to vote without any loss of pay.