Should Election Day be considered a federal holiday?

Dafny Flores, Staff Writer

November is a highly-anticipated month for Americans. Future political leaders are making their final presentations across the nation, and organizations are pushing to increase voter participation at polling stations on Election Day. While some Americans cast their votes before Election Day, it takes a village to determine the future democracy of the country. So why not recognize Election Day as a federal holiday?

The federal government established Election Day on the first Tuesday of November, which normally falls between the dates of Nov. 2 and Nov. 8 in even-numbered years. While it is not considered a federal holiday, some states and territories like New York, Delaware, Hawaii and Puerto Rico recognize Election Day as a civic holiday, meaning local offices and state employees receive paid time off.

America has struggled with voter turnout in polling stations. Many factors define the lack of participation, including the type of election, demographics such as age, sex, race, religion, election candidates and a change in voting laws. Many voting precincts also lack polling stations to accommodate all the residents in the area. Furthermore, not all states allow Americans to participate in early voting. All of these consequences devalue Election Day for many Americans. In addition, the lack of resources can lead to voter apathy, where voters are not interested in voting or do not feel their voice is valued in a political stance. 

The proposal for making Election Day a federal holiday has been presented to Congress by the Democratic Party with The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, which included election reform efforts such as automatically registering voters and access to mail-in ballots; however, the Act was turned down. President Joe Biden recognized the value of Election Day as a federal holiday but has not yet made an effort to pass the act. The decision to make Election Day a federal holiday can make a difference in voter engagement. The anticipation of an official Election Day will encourage many Americans across various age groups and other demographic areas to turn out.