Birmingham has declared this year’s Election Day, Nov. 3, as a one-time unpaid holiday for city employees. The decision, ostensibly made so that employees will have the opportunity to vote, also will save money for the cash-strapped city, which has had to furlough employees and make budget cuts due to COVID-19’s impact on revenue.
“It’s always been my belief that a goal of every elected official should be to make voting easier, not harder,” Woodfin said in a statement posted to his Facebook page. “Making Election Day a day that is free from work should help those who are normally unable to take time off to go vote, particularly (city) employees who work long shifts, have more than one job, and often must balance all of that with child care … . Instead of a day worrying about trying to carve out time to go vote, we’re turning Election Day into a celebration of our democracy.”
The ordinance also declares future presidential election days as holidays, though whether that holiday is unpaid is subject to change, Woodfin said.
“I think four years from now, we can do something that works better,” he told the council during a committee meeting Monday afternoon. “This is our first time doing this, and we want to make sure that it fits what we can afford.”
As a result of the newly declared holiday, City Hall will be closed, with the city council meeting scheduled for that day pushed to Wednesday, Nov. 4.