Should Election Day be a National Holiday?

John Tondora ‘20

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As another fall season rolls around, so does the infamous first Tuesday in November: Election Day. For a select, few weeks out of the year, candidates and their policies dominate the minds of voters in the United States. From New Jersey to California, these races have large implications for the futures of the states and the nation.

 

CNN reported that the Presidential Election of 2016 saw the lowest voter turnout in over two decades, with a mere 53.5% of eligible Americans voting. With every year and every abysmal statistic stating how many people in the United States actually vote, there is renewed strength by many to convert Election Day into a national holiday.

 

Therefore, should the United States government convert Election Day into a national holiday? The answer is a definitive yes. Turning the day into a holiday would allow Americans to have more allotted time for making it to the polls. With the fast-paced and busy lives that most Americans have, the time and ability to vote whilst doing innumerable other activities seems almost impossible. Consequently, making the first Tuesday in November a national holiday would give Americans more breathing room, thereby allowing more people to vote.

 

When asked about whether or not the day should become a national holiday, Brian Pescatore ‘20 said, “Yes, because we need to make sure everybody has the ability to go out to the polls on Election Day and make their voice be heard.” Brian encapsulates the sentiment of those who believe that the day should become a national holiday, as allowing more people to vote only strengthens democracy, which is always a good thing. Nihal Kurki ‘20 compounded this sentiment when he said, “Yes [Election Day should be a national holiday] in order to increase voter turnout and participation. Nearly every other developed country has Election Day as a holiday.” He brings up a valid point because, in many other nations, Election Day is seen as a very crucial day of the year and therefore receives the title of a federal holiday.

 

On the subject of the privilege to vote, Will Smith ‘20 goes on to say, “It is our right to vote and in many other countries, [some people] cannot vote. It is a freedom that we have and many say that it takes too much time, which is sad.” Will highlights an interesting concept, which is that it is the duty of Americans to vote, and making Election Day a national holiday would help facilitate voting more efficiently.

 

When asked about the holiday status of Election Day as a national holiday, Jackson Uhrig ‘20 gave a resounding “No”, stating that it would “take away from the core American value of hard work. However, I do believe that voter participation should be encouraged more than it is right now, but maybe in the place of a national holiday, we should simply change our political culture to place an emphasis on participation.” Jackson’s qualifying statement indicates how those opposed to the national holiday feel. Though it is agreed that there should be more participation, how the United States achieves this is hotly debated.

 

Though the option to make Election Day a national holiday will not be on the ballot this November, it is important to consider how the United States can both change and improve its ever-evolving democracy in the 21st century; by giving citizens a day off to participate in their government, they can more effectively improve our nation.

 

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Should Election Day be a National Holiday?