SACRAMENTO (AP) — A California lawmaker wants to help boost election turnout by giving voters the chance to cast ballots on Saturdays.
Legislation by state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, would require counties to have a polling place open for early voting for four hours on at least one Saturday in the 29 days before Election Day.
The Sacramento Bee reports that 25 of California’s 58 counties already allow Saturday voting. Nationwide, 32 states and the District of Columbia allow early voting in addition to mail voting.
Yee, who is running for California secretary of state in 2014, said he hopes Saturday voting will increase voter participation rates, especially in local elections.
“In these times, when you have moms and dads who are working two jobs, coming home late and taking care of the kids, it is extremely difficult for many individuals to cast their vote on Tuesday night,” Yee said. “We ought to find every which way to get every voter into the polling place.”
But some believe requiring polls to open Saturday isn’t necessary because voters already have the option of voting by mail.
Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, who voted against the bill in committee last week, said counties are already allowed to open polling places on Saturdays.
“I will continue to trust the secretary of state and the county registrars to do their job,” Anderson said.
Anything that makes it easier for voters to cast ballots is worth trying, said Dan Schnur, director of the Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California.
“The state ought to do everything it possibly can to encourage voting without compromising ballot security, and this is another example of a reform that accomplishes both of those goals,” Schnur said.