Election day as a state holiday

By Adrian Shelley, Director of the Texas office of Public Citizen

Today, Public Citizen supported, in the Texas House State Affairs Committee hearing, HB 935. A bill that would designate certain election days as state holidays. We are supportive because this bill would offer Texas voters more opportunity to vote and participate in elections.

Texas has the worst voter turnout in the nation.[1] I have personally experienced the difficulty of encouraging civic participation in Texas through my participation in the Houston in Action Coalition, which works to increase participation in voting and civic life in Harris County. Voter apathy and barriers to participation depress voter turnout in Texas. Texas’ population is increasingly young and diverse. The legislature should do everything possible to encourage civic participation among all Texans. When more Texans participate in elections, and in turn become more civically active, the democratic process benefits. Making election day a state holiday will surely increase voter turnout and participation in elections. And it comes with no fiscal impact to the state.

[1] See, e.g., https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/texas/article/Voter-turnout-in-Texas-is-dead-last-in-America-13241845.php.