At nearly half of the population, America's largest political party is "the party of nonvoters"--120 million strong. Let us grow democracy by making our election day a federal and state holiday. Countries around the world have been observing election day as a holiday for years. The United States could do the same by designating the first Tuesday in November as our Democracy Day.
The safeguarding of the Constitution and our democratic heritage are the two greatest gifts we can pass on to our children. Our constitution—the oldest in the world—is a living document that is based on eternal principals. We have in all of our history only added to the Constitution a few times. Each of these changes shows an American path towards making the Constitution more manifest. This is what we should celebrate on Democracy Day.
We need a holiday that allows us to:
Strengthen our national identity and pride.
Celebrate the fact that we are the world's oldest democracy.
Focus on and research election issues.
Share our ideas with others.
Encourage each other to participate in elections.
Vote with confidence and leisure.
Ensure that we don’t take our freedoms for granted.
Let us grow democracy by making our election day a federal and state holiday. Countries around the world have been observing election day as a holiday for years. The United States could do the same by designating the first Tuesday in November as our Democracy Day.
Celebrating Democracy Day will allow more Americans to participate in election day activities. Whether we spend the day catching up on ballot measures, encouraging others to vote, or simply getting to the polls ourselves, an election day holiday strengthens our democracy by allowing us to invest in our nation.
This Concept Has Already Taken Root Around the Country
Twenty-one states currently give their employees the day off to vote; eight states even close some or all of their public schools on election day. Recent polls have shown that a majority of people favor making election day a holiday:
A Michigan State University survey found that over 60% of people polled favor making election day a state holiday. A majority of the people polled favored paying for this and other election reforms with increased taxes. By contrast, less than half of the respondents favored internet voting or opening polls on Saturday.
A study conducted by the Scripps News Service and Ohio University found that 62% of people surveyed favor making election day a holiday. Less than 50% wanted Sunday or internet voting.
Ex-presidents Ford, Carter, and Clinton have shown strong support for making election day a holiday. In response to the 2000 presidential election, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter sponsored the National Commission on Federal Election Reform, a group of politicians, academics, and attorneys. After carefully studying our election system, the Commission suggested many voting reforms—including making election day a national holiday—in its report titled, To Assure Pride and Confidence in the Electoral Process.
The Commission suggests that the holiday will:
Make it easier for working people to vote without paying more poll workers to keep polling places open longer hours.
Free up additional polling places such as schools or government offices.
Make more and better trained poll workers available to help with elections.
Encourage college students to vote, work at polling places, and get other people excited about voting.
Give high school students an increased opportunity to observe and help with the voting process, possibly sparking additional youth interest in voting.
The Commission suggested setting Veterans Day on the first Tuesday of November every other year, and naming this holiday "Veterans' Democracy Day," as the best way to honor of those who served and sacrificed to protect our country.
Democracy Can Be Implemented Quickly and Easily
Democracy Day could become a state holiday very quickly. State legislatures could either approve a new holiday or replace one of over 60 unique state holidays with Democracy Day. Congress can make Democracy Day a federal holiday just as quickly.
But before additional states or the federal government make election day a holiday, we will have to express our support.
Help to Grow Democracy by Signing this Petition, and by writing to your Congressperson, asking to support a bill making Election Day a Holiday.