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senate Bill S. 1969

Should Election Day be a Public Holiday?

Argument in favor

Making Election Day a public holiday would make it easier for Americans to participate in democracy by getting out and voting.

Robert's Opinion
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11/08/2016
Duty as a citizen to vote. Government should make all accommodations they can to get every eligible citizen voting.
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Gerhard's Opinion
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11/08/2016
This is something that should be obvious, we are working longer hours and have less time in general, give us the day to make an informed decision!
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Matthew's Opinion
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11/08/2016
By making Election day a public holiday, voter awareness would be increased leading to more people voting.
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Argument opposed

There’s no need to make Election Day a public holiday, the millions of Americans who want to cast a ballot are already doing so.

operaman's Opinion
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11/08/2016
Public Holiday! These days are paid. I believe I see a plan. Voters should have a patriots duty to vote, not paid for it. Everyone it seems wants a handout, but never a hand up. Besides, it's illegal to buy votes. Just a small, expensive Socialist step for total government control and a government paycheck. Next we'll heard that the Feds will pay you for voting on their pre-printed ballots. Or a public bed with continuous IV drugs for your unlimited support. Life is good under Socialism. Early voting either by absentee or Court House has been a benefit for Sr. Citizens or for hard nosed employer who says NO time off.
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Sarah's Opinion
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11/08/2016
I don't think it needs to be a holiday, but I think all states should give the option to early vote. I don't know how I would've voted this year if it wasn't for having that option.
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Ron's Opinion
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11/08/2016
The government and a few businesses would be all that would take the holiday. Lower class workers would end up still working to pay the bills. Government employees get more than enough paid holidays. The cost of adding another is unnecessary. Absentee ballots are the best solution for crowded polling sites. Most states have this already in place where eligible voters can participate early without any dramatic waiting or inconvenience.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedAugust 5th, 2015

What is Senate Bill S. 1969?

This bill would make Federal Election Day a public holiday known as “Democracy Day” that occurs in each even-numbered year on the next Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

It should be noted that primary or local elections wouldn’t be covered under this bill, only federal general elections.

Impact

Voters; employers; and the federal government.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 1969

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced this bill to make it easier for Americans to vote, saying in a press release that:

“In America, we should be celebrating our democracy and doing everything possible to make it easier for people to participate in the political process. Election Day should be a national holiday so that everyone has the time and opportunity to vote. While this would not be a cure-all, it would indicate a national commitment to create a more vibrant democracy.”

Not everyone is sold on the notion that making Election Day a public holiday would increase participation. In a column for National Review, Ian Tuttle opined that “giving Americans federal license to lie in bed all day is probably not going to encourage robust political activism.” He further added:

“But “democracy” defined as five minutes’ work one Tuesday every even-numbered year is no democracy at all. Because democracy is not just about casting a vote. It is about the freedom to partake of the myriad roles available in the political process — or, if one so chooses, to not partake.”


Of Note: According to Workplace Fairness, there are 11 states that don’t have laws requiring that businesses give employees time to vote during work on Election Day, although that doesn’t necessarily mean workers would be punished for going to their polling place.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Tom Arthur / Creative Commons)

AKA

Democracy Day Act of 2015

Official Title

A bill to designate Federal election day as a public holiday.

    Duty as a citizen to vote. Government should make all accommodations they can to get every eligible citizen voting.
    Like (105)
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    Public Holiday! These days are paid. I believe I see a plan. Voters should have a patriots duty to vote, not paid for it. Everyone it seems wants a handout, but never a hand up. Besides, it's illegal to buy votes. Just a small, expensive Socialist step for total government control and a government paycheck. Next we'll heard that the Feds will pay you for voting on their pre-printed ballots. Or a public bed with continuous IV drugs for your unlimited support. Life is good under Socialism. Early voting either by absentee or Court House has been a benefit for Sr. Citizens or for hard nosed employer who says NO time off.
    Like (16)
    Follow
    Share
    This is something that should be obvious, we are working longer hours and have less time in general, give us the day to make an informed decision!
    Like (74)
    Follow
    Share
    By making Election day a public holiday, voter awareness would be increased leading to more people voting.
    Like (41)
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    I'd have to say, the rebuttal to this is early voting, to which I completely agree. However, those working odd shifts, multiple jobs, or transportation issues, would benefit from an official day off just to vote. I believe it's not going to dramatically increase voter turnout, but since we place so much importance on voting, it's the morally correct decision.
    Like (32)
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    I'm currently on a bus home from Boston (4 hours) to vote because my absentee ballot came too late. I'm missing two classes today as a result. Others are taking time off work they can't afford or using up valuable sick days.
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    I don't think it needs to be a holiday, but I think all states should give the option to early vote. I don't know how I would've voted this year if it wasn't for having that option.
    Like (15)
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    Not allowing a paid national holiday for Election Day is a systematic attempt to get rid of the African American and Hispanic vote.
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    No s**t. Make it happen.
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    I think right now there are a lot of barriers for people in low income neighborhoods that are preventing them from voting. I believe that making Election Day a public holiday would bring down some of these barriers. I believe it would enable more people to work at polling stations instead of having to go to their jobs which would make it so that there could be more polling stations in the area with shorter lines, encouraging more people to go out and vote.
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    The government and a few businesses would be all that would take the holiday. Lower class workers would end up still working to pay the bills. Government employees get more than enough paid holidays. The cost of adding another is unnecessary. Absentee ballots are the best solution for crowded polling sites. Most states have this already in place where eligible voters can participate early without any dramatic waiting or inconvenience.
    Like (10)
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    Of course it should be a holiday. You are picking who is going to lead your country for the next 4-8 years.
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    Absolutely! And there should be parades, costume wearing, face painting, car decorating...
    Like (8)
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    This may help alleviate the problem of low voter turnout.
    Like (7)
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    If Columbus still gets a holiday, the LEAST we can do is have democracy day as an observable holiday.
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    There is no reason anyone who wishes to vote cannot find time to do so. Especially with early voting, absentee balloting, is an option. If it were a holiday, I don't think there would be any significant increase in voting participation.
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    The more people that vote, the more our elections truly reflect our ideals (ignoring the impact on this that the electoral college imposes). Many people cannot vote because they work and having a national holiday promoting democracy could only have a positive influence on our kids.
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    This is a no brainer. We have holidays for things far less important as voting in our future.
    Like (5)
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    From a service perspective, there are numerous employees working more than 10-12 hours a day. With the number of people who request adjustments to their workday, employers are not as understanding as they should be. By making Election Day a holiday, this enables all working individuals the opportunity to cast their vote without the ramifications of adjusting their own work schedule.
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    And expand voter registration and early voting and maybe even move election day to Saturday. If you actually want people to vote, these are obvious ideas.
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