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Santa Fe employees get half-day off to vote on election day

SANTA FE — City of Santa Fe employees will get an additional two hours off from work on Election Day 2020, giving them a full half day off with pay for the purpose of voting in the Nov. 3 general election. An analysis by city staff indicates the fiscal impact of closing city offices for half a day would be about $30,000.

On Wednesday, the City Council voted 5-3 to approve the 2020 employee calendar, which included the additional time off. City employees also get 10 full days off as holidays, as well as a half day off on Sept. 11, the opening day of the Fiesta de Santa Fe.

Councilors Signe Lindell, JoAnne Vigil Coppler and Renee Villarreal voted against the proposal. They said employees have plenty of opportunity to cast ballots through early voting at voting convenience centers and won’t require more than the two hours already available for city workers to vote on Election Day.

Councilors Roman Abeyta, Peter Ives, Chris Rivera and Carol Romero-Wirth and Mayor Alan Webber were in support of the measure. Councilor Mike Harris was absent.

Ives, who was attending his final meeting as city councilor, said he was willing to give it a try provided it was made clear it was not an entitlement.

Human Resources Director Bernadette Salazar told the council that voting record data could be used to determine how many city employees actually voted, which could assist councilors in deciding whether to give the time off to vote in future years.


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