Skyline Colleges Need for AB 53: A General Election Holiday


Enrique Liganor

Assembly Bill No.53 grants flexibility on the next election day.

A day away from school, time off from work, the chance to have your voice heard⁠ — It’s high time for a new holiday to come about.

Assembly Bill No. 53 will provide Skyline students and faculty greater flexibility come the next Election Day. The bill calls for the creation of a state holiday to occur every even year on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November: Election Day. Turning Election Day into a state holiday would ensure that community colleges and public schools/universities would be closed for the day. Most state employees would get a paid day off of work as well.

California has the chance to expand voting rights and uplift the voices of Skyline students and faculty through greater accessibility to the voting booth. The oh-so-important biology test worth a quarter of your grade would no longer inhibit you from going to the polls in November. The after-class office hours you are scheduled to offer your students wouldn’t stop you from voting for the next president. The full 13-hour voting time frame would be at your disposal.

As someone who volunteered at an in-district polling site during our last election, I have seen firsthand how inefficient the current system is. The majority of the day is spent waiting as a few voters trickle to cast their ballots. There are only three time frames during which you see any real action: before work, during the typical noon lunch break, and during the after-work rush hour. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. there is an hour-long line stretching out the door and down the sidewalk. No one should have to wait in an hour-long line at night to vote. No one should feel the desire to turn away at the sight of these long lines.

Work and school hours create this bottleneck — An Election Day holiday would prevent it. Having the full day at your disposal would allow the Skyline community to go and vote when they please, likely evening out the rate at which people go to the polls throughout the day. Additionally, San Mateo County will allow its residents to vote at any in-district polling site. With significantly shorter wait lines and greater accessibility to the polls, AB 53 will expand voting rights for the Skyline community.

Some may question the need for an Election Day holiday, considering that California has heavily expanded mail-in voting options. More democracy is never a bad thing, and not all voters want to use the mail-in voting system. Many voters enjoy the experience of going to the polls or prefer personally seeing their ballot delivered.

At the end of the day, are you really going to say no to a new holiday?