Should Election Day be a National Holiday?


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The “I Voted” sticker has become a symbol of voting in America.

Lauren Klemowich, Staff Writer

The United States is the leading country for democracy. However, Pew Researchers state “less than 56% of the estimated voting-age population voted during the 2016 Presidential Election.”

Election day always falls on the first Tuesday in November. This idea has gone back to President John Tyler in 1845. Legislators believed that Tuesday would allow rural voters to attend religious services while still having time to travel to the polls. 

In today’s society, however, this is not the case. Due to election day being on a weekday, many people find it hard to vote and participate in elections. They would have to get up extremely early, wait in long lines after work, or miss work in general to vote. For many people though, doing any of the above is not possible.

To make voting easier, some are calling on a bill from Congress to make election day a national holiday. They say that this will make it easier for more people to go out and cast their ballots, giving the U.S. a higher voter turnout.

Today, many U.S. states have voter leave laws that guarantee some employees of time to vote. However, there are no federal laws that allow employees time off to cast their votes.

Mr. Winkles, an AP U.S. Government teacher believes that elections should be a national holiday so it allows for more people to vote.

In a country that preaches voting for all citizens, the way voting is set in place today makes it extremely hard for different groups of Americans. For example, single parents having to work multiple jobs are at a significant disadvantage. Voting is a right given to Americans but in society, if you do not vote, you are frowned upon.

Bernie Sanders, a Democratic Presidential candidate, states “Election Day should be a national holiday so that everyone has time and opportunity to vote… While this would not be a cure-all it would indicate a national commitment to create a more vibrant democracy.”

Seniors in the class of 2020 will be able to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election. Many will be in college or starting to work. Not having Election Day be a national holiday may affect them.

On the other hand, banks, white-collar jobs, or state and federal workers will be able to get time off to vote. Smaller businesses, however, can not close their businesses. Also, retail stores, hospitals, or restaurants can not close. Because of this, everyday Americans will still not be able to cast their votes even with Election Day being a national holiday.

Whether Congress changes Election Day to a national holiday or not, there are still ways to make voting easier. Some states have early voting, allowing registered voters to go to polling stations early or send in their ballots before election day.