Election Day should not be a federal holiday

Putting this in action is not a valid reason to increase voter turnout


Photo courtesy of stepupmagazine

Many politicians want to increase voter turnout in the US by making election day a federal holiday. However, they don’t consider that this new holiday will be a disadvantage for many blue-collar and low-income workers.

Alexis Bahensky, Staff Reporter

The voting turnout for the US in 2016 was only 64.4%, according to Census.gov. To many politicians, such as Bernie Sanders, Anna Eshoo, and many other Democrats, the only way to fix this dilemma is to make election day a federal holiday. However, what politicians are not considering is that this will have disastrous effects on many communities around the country.

The reasoning behind the idea to make this new holiday was because of the way voting was set up in the early 1800s. They wanted to keep the day the presidential elections landed on while making it “easier” for people to vote. Each year the election is on a Tuesday. According to NPR (National Public Radio), this way of voting might have been ideal in the 1800s when Wednesdays were market days and while the weekends were used to worship. Farmers also needed to travel to and from the ballots. This way of voting was once a commodity to farmers. However, now it has become a nuisance in the voting world today.

Creating this new holiday won’t apply to the disadvantaged low-income and blue-collar workers as well as smaller businesses. Many banks, schools and other big businesses let their workers have a paid day off work to cast their votes. However, hospitals, retail and restaurants don’t give their workers time off. Smaller businesses won’t be able to afford to shut down for the day, and even if they did, they wouldn’t be able to give their employees a full paid day off. 

Federal law also doesn’t require private employers to give their workers a paid federal holiday, according to the Department of Labor. This means that even if the law were to pass declaring election day as a federal holiday, then employers have the right to say no to their workers taking the day off. This could cause riots and protests to break out against employers.

The closing of schools and other childcare businesses will cause even more problems. Parents who won’t be able to take time off work will have a harder time finding care for their children who would be out of school. Those workers would either end up staying home and losing pay to take care of their children, take a PTO (paid time off/personal time off) day or end up taking them to work with them. 

If our government wants to make it even harder for blue-collar workers to vote then go ahead and remove their childcare and force them to work more hours while white-collar workers are able to cast in their ballots. However, there are better solutions that some small businesses have already begun to adopt.

Many states have already begun to use more practical laws on voting. Hawaii, for example, calls for people to have at least a two-hour break for voting, as stated by Ballotpedia. New Hampshire also allows workers to take time off work for voting any time throughout the day if they were going to go to the polls and vote.

Yes, the US does have one of the lowest numbers of voters each year around the world, but making voting a federal holiday will do more harm than good. It will become a large disadvantage for low-income and blue-collar workers, as well as smaller businesses because of the lack of childcare who’s employees won’t be able to take off time for work. 

Having a holiday sounds like it would be an amazing advantage to workers and their children, however passing this new federal holiday will have way more negative impacts on election day than if employers only gave a few hours off for their employees to vote.