Complete coverage of the 83rd session of the Texas Legislature.

Lawmaker Proposes Making Election Day State Holiday

State senator says measure would increase voter turnout

By Omar Villafranca
|  Thursday, Feb 14, 2013  |  Updated 8:51 AM CDT
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State Senator Rodney Ellis from Houston is proposing making election day a state holiday.

NBC 5 News

State Senator Rodney Ellis from Houston is proposing making election day a state holiday.

Election Day could become a state holiday.

State Sen. Rodney Ellis is pushing a bill that would make Election Day, as well as Primary and Runoff Day, a state holiday. Ellis suggests retiring a few other state holidays to make way for the addition of three possible holidays for voting.

"We already have a large number of state holidays," he said. "If we need to get rid of a few, I suggest Confederate Heroes Day. Who is celebrating that? They lost! Go watch the movie 'Lincoln.' But we need to do as much as we can to encourage greater participation in our democracy, and that is where this bill is coming from."

The bill aims to give workers at state agencies the day off to vote. Private businesses would not have to close.

"If a business cannot close, we're going to require them to let people take off enough time to go and vote, a reasonable amount of time to vote," Ellis said.

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