TOPEKA — Seaman High School students said Thursday they are leading a campaign to declare November general Election Day a legal public holiday in Kansas.

Ahmni Pang-Johnson, Forrest Brungardt, Eva Noble and several classmates are working to convince the Kansas Legislature to grant potential voters a wider window of opportunity to participate directly in the democratic process.

"Democracy is one of our greatest gifts," Noble said, "yet most citizens aren't able to relish in the beauty of choosing their leaders simply because they must work. To many Americans, an hour's worth of missed pay is not worth a trip to the voting booth."

She said the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage ought to inspire passage by the House and Senate of a holiday designed to make the first Tuesday after the first Monday in even-number years an election holiday.

Provisions of House Bill 2477, under consideration by a House committee, would require expenditure of $850,000 to implement the reform in executive branch offices of state government. It's unclear what the change would cost universities in the Kansas Board of Regents' system of higher education in terms of holiday pay or compensatory time off.

Pang-Johnson, in remarks at the Capitol, said law-abiding citizens had the right to vote, but circumstances denied too many sufficient time to cast a ballot. He said it should be a high government priority to foster a culture in which people had ample opportunity to vote.

"We should not be satisfied with a 'democracy' in which more than 60% do not vote," he said. "American citizens support Election Day being designated a holiday."

Brungardt reminded lawmakers U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was convinced Americans "take democracy for granted." It's an acute problem for younger voters, he said, given evidence 45% of non-voters in 2016 indicated they didn't have enough time to go to the ballot box.

"We can empower thousands of young Kansans and show them that our government supports their right to vote," he said.