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Minutes for HB2477 - Committee on Federal and State Affairs

Short Title

Designating General Election Day as a legal public holiday.

Minutes Content for Thu, Jan 30, 2020

Chairperson Barker opened the hearing on HB2477

Representative Karleskint stated that he introduced this bill at the request of a Seaman high school teacher, Nathan McAllister.  A group of students contacted him last spring about this bill. He introduced Mr. McAllister and the students who will be testifying. 

Chairperson Barker recognized Ahmni Pang-Johnson as a proponent on HB2477 (Attachment 10).  He stated that Americans support election day being designated a holiday.  He urged the Committee to vote for HB2477 for the protection of one of the most important rights granted in the United States Constitution. 

Chairperson Barker recognized Eva Noble who testified as a proponent on the bill (Attachment 11).  She stated that designating election day a state holiday would render the voting process more equitable by allowing the underrepresented numbers of Kansans, such as the working class and minority populations, the opportunity to exercise their right to vote without missing any work.

Chairperson Barker recognized Forrest Brungardt as a proponent of HB2477 (Attachment 12).  He stated that designating Election Day as a state holiday would allow youth to vote and work at polling places. 

McKenzie Szopinski testified in support of HB2477 (Attachment 13).  She stated that only 51 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot in the 2018 general election, ranking Kansas 27th of the 50 states.  Making election day a state holiday will be a viable first step in improving voter turnout.

Chairperson Barker recognized Kevinh Nguyen as a proponent of HB2477 (Attachment 14).  Passage of HB2477 will encourage civic participation in elections, including but not limited to a greater number of poll workers, parents teaching their kids about Election Day, and higher voter turnout. 

Questions were asked by Representatives Carpenter, Highberger, and Kessinger.  Chairperson Barker made comments that people are now allowed to vote by mail and to go in 15 days before election day and noted that in his district 50-60 percent of the population vote before election day.

There being no further conferees, Chairperson Barker closed the hearing on HB2477.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:08 a.m.