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Election Day – A New National Holiday?

With the midterms over, some think that Election Day needs to be a national holiday in the U.S to encourage more voters.

The majority of U.S. states guarantee certain employees time off to vote. But currently, there are no federal laws mandating that employees get time off to vote.

Depending on which state you live in, the time-off-to-vote laws are different for employers and employees.

Some guarantee a certain paid time off and others do not. But an individual employer can offer leave to their employee to vote, even if their state doesn’t mandate it.

When employees choose to take unpaid time off work to vote, and get up zero dark early to make it to the vote, missing work, while they stand in line for hours with everyone else who decided to wait until after the workday. When these options are weighed in many don’t get out to vote.

When non-voters were surveyed for their reasons for not voting, the top two reasons were they were too busy and they had conflicting work schedules.

In the 2016 Presidential election, less than 56% of the voting population in the U.S. voted. Compared to other countries, this number is very low.

Countries like Belgium, Sweden, and Turkey have more than 80% of their voters vote on election day. The main reason for these countries for having such a high turnout is because of their compulsory voting laws. This law probably wouldn’t go over well in the U.S.

Some think a good idea would be to make election day a national holiday, feeling this would make it easier for everyone eligible to vote to cast their ballot.

Making election day a national holiday would require an act of Congress. So far, there is nothing on the table to pass a bill that would allow this.

Although most recently Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont proposed a bill to make Election Day a holiday called “Democracy Day”. Right now it is sitting in front of a special committee.

There is no guarantee this would be the cure-all for getting voters out.

Even though voting in the U.S. isn’t a perfect system, it has gotten better. There was a time when only white male property owners had the right to vote.

Many support the idea of having Election Day deemed a national holiday.

What are your thoughts? Do you think that making Election Day a national holiday would increase the number of voters casting their ballots or would most people simply see it as just another day off?

1 Comment

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