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
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.
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.
It will turn voting into a celebration of democracy
Voting should be fun and celebratory. Election Day shouldn't be a day where people feel like they have another tedious task to do on top of their normal responsibilities, it is a day that should be filled with pride, joy, and patriotic sentiment.
Making weekday elections a national holiday is a popular idea that would align the US with other countries. It is time that the United States starts taking proactive measures to make participating in democracy as easy and as accessible as it is in other foreign countries.
American does not need another national holiday. It will simultaneously drain taxpayer dollars and hurt businesses who can not afford to pay their workers for time off. At the end of the day, making election day a national holiday benefits nobody but Democratic politicians.
It would hurt the economy
Not only do federal holidays cost taxpayers an astronomical amount of money but they cost the economy as a whole a large sum of money. Employers not at work and business shut downs hurt economic growth; it may only be for a day, but it is enough to do damage.
It would benefit one political party over the other
From the President of the United States to down the list of GOP politicians, Republicans have gotten stunningly candid about their electoral playbook and their desire to block increased voter turnout. Making election day a national holiday would benefit the Democrats.
There are better solutions to increase voter turnout
Solutions such as automatic voter registration, same-day registration, early voting, and voter outreach would all improve voter participation more reliably than a national holiday. Trying one of these alternatives would avoid the negative economic impact of closing businesses for Election Day.