Every four years, around the beginning of November, people across the country head to polling places to cast votes for who they want to represent them. While Democratic legislators have called for Election Day to be declared a national holiday, their efforts have fallen flat. But is the idea of making Election Day a national holiday that far-fetched?
Declaring Election Day as a national holiday has been proposed various times in Congress. It’s a popular idea, and Senator Bernie Sanders has certainly tried. He introduced the “Democracy Day Act” in 2018, which would have allowed anyone to cast their ballots free from workplace obligations. The bill has no cosponsors, but as the incoming Biden Administration continues to embrace causes for working-class Americans, there is hope.
Certainly, the recent national election has underscored disparities in voting and access to voting across classes, and as that debate continued gaining traction heading into the Georgia Senate run-offs the call for greater enfranchisement for all voters has drawn specific attention. The results coming out of Georgia have proven that when working-classes and racial minorities mobilize to Get Out The Vote (GOTV) electoral outcomes can be significantly different than predicted. We must continue investigating why certain segments of the population appear to require greater support at the ballot box if we truly believe that free and fair elections require participation across the board.
At Marlborough, it seems that our students share a common commitment to civic participation, and we should be making it easier for people to vote, not harder.
While not every student can vote on that special day, politics still take a heavy toll on our lives. It can be stressful, especially when the future of our country is at stake and particularly when you are inhibited from participating in deciding the outcome. Let’s face it, if we have to endure the daily barrage of a pending national election, we deserve to have a voice in the process.
Election Day as a National Holiday would benefit the participation of adults, but it could also motivate students as volunteers and advocates. On every Election Day, there are critical tasks to support this massive effort, and Marlborough students should have the option to dedicate themselves to the cause. If Election Day was a holiday, then we could all play some part.
The country needs a cultural shift to prioritize voting. Having Election Day declared as a national holiday would emphasize the importance and significance of voting that a lot of people fail to recognize. In a world where people across the country are suffocated with countless responsibilities, it can be incredibly difficult to find time to participate in politics. With the day off of work, it would take a huge burden off of citizens who want to contribute to our democracy.
We need to be able to have everybody feel like they have a great stake in the election. After witnessing our last national election, it is clear that the multitude of methods used to draw the attention of both students and seasoned voters is a great motivation. However, it is key that these same people get to have the full experience of being a part of something this big.
At the end of the day, taking 24 hours to immerse ourselves in the voting process only complements the mission and purpose of our school and our nation.