Election day deserves a holiday of its own

Syd Pierre, print editor-in-chief

According to the Pew Research Center, only 55.7% of Americans voted in the 2016 presidential election. 14% of citizens who neglected to vote cited overall “business”, including other responsibilities and conflicting work schedules, as their reason for not voting, making up around 2.7 million people. With the upcoming 2020 election, it is imperative that the United States as a whole finds a solution to back up their promise of universal suffrage and provide a better opportunity for all eligible citizens to cast their votes. 

Our upcoming election day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, should be declared a national holiday. In order for it to become a national holiday, a bill must be passed by the House and Senate and signed by the President. A bill acknowledging an election day holiday has been proposed four separate times by Democratic Representatives—the most recent being introduced in January of 2019—but none have ever passed. In contrast to the U.S, Israel’s election day is a national holiday and their voter turnout in the most recent election (2019), was 68.5%. Singapore, is also another country with mandatory voting and an election day holiday. In their most recent election in 2015, they had 93.56% of voter turnout.  

If election day was guaranteed a national holiday, it would provide nearly 2 million government workers with a paid day off, leading other companies to follow in their footsteps. Giving workers the day off of work would allow for more citizens to have increased opportunities to get to a polling place. Single parents, those who work multiple jobs, and anyone suffering from the inescapable businesses of life would benefit from a day off and additional time to cast their ballot.

The U.S. currently has ten national holidays, a large number centered around celebrating American ideologies, such as freedom and patriotism—like Memorial Day, President’s Day, and Independence Day. Making election day an official holiday would offer American citizens an opportunity to celebrate and emphasize both our right and responsibility to participate in our democracy.