Bloomberg: Election Day Holiday 'Is a Waste'
By GRACE RAUH
Staff Reporter of the Sun
November 8, 2007
Mayor Bloomberg is jumping into a debate over whether Election Day should be a holiday, saying there is no excuse for city employees to take off the first Tuesday in November each year.
"It is a waste of the taxpayers' money," he said yesterday. "Fundamentally, it was a way to have elected officials have free help at the polls, which is just an outrage. Shouldn't go on."
He added: "I can only take on so many things and that's not one that I'm going to take on right now, if you really want to know. But I do feel strongly about it."
Several political observers and former city officials have said that giving city employees the day off on Election Day does little to encourage voting. The New York City Board of Elections said 230,516 New Yorkers went to the polls on Tuesday — approximately 2.8% of the city's more than 8.1 million residents. Many of the city's more than 300,000 employees had the day off.
A spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg, Jason Post, said he could not immediately say how many city employees worked on the holiday yesterday and may have been eligible for overtime pay.
Senators Clinton and Kerry have called for Election Day to become a federal holiday as a way to boost America's low voter turnout.
The chairwoman of the city's Municipal Labor Commission, Randi Weingarten, could not be reached for comment.
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