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Should election day be a national holiday? Show more Show less
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Election Day in the United States has occurred on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November ever since President John Tyler signed an 1845 law establishing a specific voting day for the entire country. But, the US has a voter turnout problem. Would making Election Day a federal holiday increase voter turnout and celebrate democracy? Or is it an optimistic power grab for Democrats that would hurt the economy?

Yes, election day should be a national holiday Show more Show less

The United States is one of the few democracies to vote on a weekday. A free and fair election can not occur while voters are at work and in school. A national holiday is needed to enable everybody and anybody who can vote to do so.
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It will increase voter turnout by enabling more people to vote

Voter suppression is a huge issue. Former President Barack Obama has said that the United States is the "only advanced democracy that deliberately discourages people from voting." Making election day a national holiday would be the cure to encourage voting and increase voter turnout.

The Argument

Election day should be a national holiday because doing so will enable more people to vote, thus increasing voter turnout. Among registered voters on the 2016 US presidential election day, being “too busy” or having a conflicted schedule was the third highest reason cited for not voting. This reason accounted for 2.7 million registered voters who did not cast a vote.[1] Election day should be a national holiday so that everyone has the time and opportunity to vote. Election day in the United States always falls on the first Tuesday of November. This means that it always falls on a workday, a day when millions of registered voters have jobs to go to and classes to attend. There may not be time for voters to get to the polls because of such obligations. If we make election day a national holiday where the majority of businesses are closed and schools and universities are closed, this will make it very easy for all voters to have the time to vote. Instead of working moms and dads, rushing to vote early in the morning before work or late in the evening after work, marking the day as a federal holiday would allow an entire day to get the task done. This would break up the typical rush hours that we see on election days[2] and help to eliminate the long lines that discourage voting. Moreover, as many polling places are often places of work, it would mean more polling places would be readily available for voters, increasing convenience.[2] Election day should be a national holiday because it will enable more people to have the ability to vote, thus increasing voter turnout.

Counter arguments

Election day should not be turned into a national holiday because it's not clear that doing so would be an effective solution to increase voter turnout. The argument for making election day a national holiday is that when voters have the entire day off, it will increase their turnout to the polls because they have the entire day to vote at their convenience. However, this argument does not seem to be entirely true. For instance, moving election day to the weekend has been something that many countries have adopted due to the same type of reasoning in regard to voter turnout. But in an analysis of voter turnout in other countries, it was determined that while countries with weekend voting do tend to have higher turnout than the US, adopting weekend voting hasn’t actually increased turnout within countries that have it. Looking at a country like Switzerland, despite weekend voting and the mailing of ballots to all citizens, it has the lowest voter turnout rate in the developed world at just 38.6%.[3] Thus, the convenience to vote is not the problem. Increasing convenience and allowing people to have more time to vote will not be an effective solution to increase voter turnout. Even if registered voters have an entire day free from work or school, they still may choose not to show up at the polls.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.procon.org/headlines/election-day-national-holiday-top-3-pros-and-cons/#26
  2. https://www.wral.com/why-isnt-election-day-a-national-holiday-yet/19054655/
  3. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2016/11/an-election-day-holiday-might-not-increase-turnout-studies-demonstrate.html
This page was last edited on Tuesday, 20 Oct 2020 at 21:57 UTC

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