Election Day should be a national holiday in America

Ever wonder why Election Day is on a Tuesday? Congress chose Tuesday so as not to interfere with Sunday masses or market days on Wednesdays. The public was thus able to celebrate the Christian Sabbath, have a day to account for travel needs, and then could return home in time to go to the market to sell/buy fresh supplies. In the past it made logical sense to choose Tuesday as the designated Election Day. However, times have changed.

Mavis Wilson of Charlotte, NC, studies a sample ballot while in line for early voting. Source: Brian Blanco/Getty Images

For starters, the days that farmers’ markets occur vary on the state, but many are currently held on Saturday mornings. People also typically donot travel via horse to the polling stations and instead use a faster transportation method, such as a car. Additionally, polling stations are closer in proximity to where people live and takes are usually less than a day away. Therefore, Tuesday has become a less convenient day for voters since it is in the middle of the work week.

A major problem with voter turnout is the fact that many people cannot leave work to wait in lines because they cannot sacrifice that time. Most states require employers to let their employees take an hour or two off to vote and they do not dock their worker’s pay for the hour or two when they voted. However, not all states require these actions and it still does not improve voter turnout because people cannot find time to leave work. Some people do not work close to home and, as a result, the polling stations are farther away from them since the locations are based on their home address.

There are two simple solutions to this problem: the day on which Election Day is held could be changed, and no longer be Tuesday, or make that “Tuesday after the first Monday in November” a holiday.

Tuesdays are in the middle of the work week, making it hard for people to vote, so why not change it to the first Saturday after the first Monday in November? The reason Election Day is not the first Tuesday in November is due to the fact that the time between the first Tuesday in November and the first Wednesday in December could be over 34 days. Such a gap would be and in violation of the Electoral College Law which stated that it should be within a 30 day time period. Therefore, that specific Saturday would work the best and since it is not a work day more people would potentially be able to vote.

The other possible solution is to make Election Day a holiday and no one to work that day. Younger voters would be able to go to polling stations since they would not have classes, and working folk would have the whole day to go and vote. We have national holidays for Arbor Day and “Columbus Day” and get those days off but not Election day. Everyone would be happy with that day off and there are few if not any downsides to declaring it a national holiday.

America needs to wake up and realize that the nation is supposed to be dedicated to the needs of the people where the public voice can be heard. However, we as a country are silencing voices by making it hard for them to fulfill their democratic right to vote. If they cannot get out of work or their schedules do not allow them enough time to travel to a polling station at an appropriate time, their opinions are lost. We are a nation for the people…but maybe for some more than others. We can fix one problem regarding how our country is run and that is giving people a better chance to vote.