Election Day should be a Holiday

Election day not being a holiday allows voter suppression


Picture obtained via Creative Commons

Voters line up for the polls for the 2016 Election.

Charley Roth-Douquet, Reporter

The age of Jim Crow in the United States illustrated an era of helplessness for the black citizen. They had all the rights on paper, the fifteenth amendment gave all eligible citizens the right, and civic duty, to vote; and yet black citizens couldn’t exercise that right. Intolerant whites weaseled loopholes in the system suppressing non-whites’ votes  ensuring that only whites were represented, and more importantly, minority groups weren’t.

Nov. 6, 2018, in just a couple of weeks, the U.S. midterms will take place. This midterm election is arguably one of the most pivotal in recent years because it will determine whether the Republican majority across all branches of government is kept, or whether it will begin to be contested.

More importantly, this will determine whether Trump will keep the incredible influence he has or whether it will be contested.

For Democrats and Republicans alike, millennials and minorities are going to be a key factor in the outcome of this election. However, turnout from America’s younger demographics is always low.

Which brings me to my point. Election Day in the U.S. should be a national holiday because having representation of all of America’s unique and diverse groups is integral in having a healthy republic.

The idea of a national holiday for election day is popular. Among others Senator Bernie Sanders has shown his support by tweeting “Election Day should be a national holiday. Period.” to his 8.94 million followers. He’s elaborated on that thought with a bill he proposed to the House of Representatives as well as the Senate.

Another supporter of this idea is former President Barack Obama.

When asked if election day should be a national holiday, Obama said “Absolutely. We are the only advanced democracy that makes it deliberately difficult for people to vote.”

That’s exactly what the problem is, like Gerrymandering and the Electoral college, having election day on a workday is beneficial for people that don’t want all groups represented in government.

A direct example of voter suppression was shown in the run-up for this midterm election in North Carolina. The State had inconsistencies in hours of voting across counties, with only some counties offered Sunday voting; their justification of this “‘[c]ounties with Sunday voting in 2014 were disproportionately black’ and ‘disproportionately Democratic.’ J.A. 22348-49.”

The voter suppression shown in North Carolina isn’t an isolated incident either. Voter suppression can be seen all over the country, from “poll watchers” in Philadelphia to Republican lawyers at college polling booths. The era of tyranny in representation is still neigh, in a time where America looked as if it was passed Jim Crow-era manipulation.

Among all these other factors obstructing the American Democracy, having the official election day in the middle of the work week is a disrespect to the ideals of democracy that the nation was built upon. To promote and insure that all groups are able to have representation in government, election day across the country needs to be a holiday.