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senate Bill S. 3498

Should Election Day Be a Public Holiday Known As ‘Democracy Day’?

Argument in favor

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

Kodiwodi's Opinion
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11/06/2018
A paid holiday so the poor aren’t punished for exercising their right to vote. For those of you yelling we aren’t a democracy we are a Republic, you’re correct. However, It has to be firmly remembered that in both democracy and republic the government is elected by the people, a majority of the people.
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Nelson64's Opinion
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11/06/2018
The fact that it isn’t already is voter suppression at its finest.
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Justin's Opinion
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11/06/2018
A federal holiday would release more of the electorate to vote and reduce the angst caused by having to fit voting in on a work day for many people. Engaging as many people of our 300M+ population should be a goal our republic always strives for.
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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.

Brutas's Opinion
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11/06/2018
We live in a republic, not a democracy. That’s pretty basic. American Government 101. It’s even in the pledge of allegiance “and to the republic for which it stands”. This question just show how little people on this site understand our country.
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tituswife's Opinion
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11/06/2018
"Democracy Day"? We're not a democracy! And, no, it shouldn't be a holiday. Voting is a privilege, and a responsibility. If you'd seen the people I have, drag themselves into the voting place, you'd be ashamed to suggest this, Senator Sanders. Especially with the option of mail in ballots, this is absurd. Do we give our public servants the day off to vote? How about our military, or the Secret Service? #StillNotADemocracy
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SharonRosen's Opinion
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11/06/2018
Making election day a holiday will NOT help the poor gain access to voting. People working in the retail and services industry will still have to work, thus defeating the purpose of making it a holiday. What needs to be done is work to ensure that EVERYONE has access to the polls and that votes are not suppressed. We need need non-gerymandered districts and same day voter registration.
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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
    IntroducedSeptember 25th, 2018

What is Senate Bill S. 3498?

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. 3498

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced this bill to make Election Day a federal holiday so it’s easier for Americans to vote:

“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 2018

Official Title

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

    A paid holiday so the poor aren’t punished for exercising their right to vote. For those of you yelling we aren’t a democracy we are a Republic, you’re correct. However, It has to be firmly remembered that in both democracy and republic the government is elected by the people, a majority of the people.
    Like (538)
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    We live in a republic, not a democracy. That’s pretty basic. American Government 101. It’s even in the pledge of allegiance “and to the republic for which it stands”. This question just show how little people on this site understand our country.
    Like (37)
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    The fact that it isn’t already is voter suppression at its finest.
    Like (252)
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    A federal holiday would release more of the electorate to vote and reduce the angst caused by having to fit voting in on a work day for many people. Engaging as many people of our 300M+ population should be a goal our republic always strives for.
    Like (158)
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    Yes , or changed to a Saturday or Sunday.
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    With voter turnout averaging less than 60% in Presidential Elections and around 40% in off year elections (over the last 18 years), you can't tell me that having Election Day off wouldn't make a difference in electoral participation. No matter how passionate an individual is about politics, our democracy is better off when they're encouraged to vote.
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    Anything that will help people vote.
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    Absolutely! We should do all we can to help people vote!
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    There’s no need to change the name. Election Day is for elections. Calling it Democracy Day sounds like borderline propaganda, although I get the heart behind it. The name works well as is and gets to job done, and a new name would probably confuse people. Although getting the day off would encourage more people to vote so I am all for that.
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    Absolutely. It should be like it is on Christmas. Everything should close or people should be on four hour shifts. EVERYONE MUST VOTE!
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    Yes but do it every year. Local elections matter too.
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    Yes, we should adopt election day as a national holiday called Democracy Day with automatic registration and mailed paper ballots (as they do in Oregon and Washington) in all 50 states. Time to put to rest rampant republican voter suppression.
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    Yes and we should have mail in ballots as well. 47% of people in Colorado already voted most by mail. Lines here are likely nonexistent as people are still dropping off ballots at local voting drop boxes. Moreover, the polls closed at 7:00pm and by 8:15pm we knew the winners of most of our races.
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    "Democracy Day"? We're not a democracy! And, no, it shouldn't be a holiday. Voting is a privilege, and a responsibility. If you'd seen the people I have, drag themselves into the voting place, you'd be ashamed to suggest this, Senator Sanders. Especially with the option of mail in ballots, this is absurd. Do we give our public servants the day off to vote? How about our military, or the Secret Service? #StillNotADemocracy
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    It’s time we promote voting instead of suppressing it. I’m a voter in Ohio’s 12th congressional district and I support this bill.
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    Absolutely! We celebrate every other blessed thing we can think of with a national holiday. Our right to vote and the integrity of the system we vote in should be given a place of honor in our national calendar. A perfect stimulus for school teachers, kids and parents to continuously reinforce to our future generations that our democracy depends not only on our freedom to vote, but also on our responsibility, our obligation to participate as an informed voter. 👍
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    With so much discussed around the notion of voter suppression, the idea of making it easier to vote makes sense. This in conjunction with taking measures to ensure all eligible voters will help remove some of the criticism expressed today around the topic of voter suppression.
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    If you truly want more participation in voting, you have to make it easy for people to do so
    Like (17)
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    Los of people don’t vote because the have to work during the hours when the polls are open.
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    Holidays are nice and it also encourages people to vote by providing the time.
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