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Initiative Seeks To Make Election Day A Holiday

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — If Election Day were a holiday, would that boost voter turnout?

That’s the thought behind a ballot initiative that was given approval Wednesday to begin gathering signatures. Backers of the initiative must collect valid signatures from 504,760 registered voters by Sept. 1 to qualify for the ballot.

One of the initiative’s backers, Roy Benson, says making Election Day a holiday for presidential and gubernatorial elections would boost voter turnout.

Analysts say the measure would result in increased costs to state government of probably less than $20 million once every two years for extra pay for state employees required to work on a holiday.

Public agencies have tried a variety of ways to boost voter turnout. The city of Los Angeles, for example, relaxes parking restrictions and enforcement near polling places on Election Day.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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