By Abbie Adams – Contributing Writer
With the election cycle in full swing, voters are looking at which candidate they want to see on their party’s ticket for the general election. Stakes are high this year, with several polarizing figures still in the race, making it more crucial than ever for voters to get out and cast their ballot. For many, though, it’s not as simple as getting off the couch and voting. If we, as a nation, want to encourage voter turnout during these times, why not deem the day a holiday?
Making ‘Election Day’ a federal holiday would create more opportunities for most Americans to reach their polling stations to cast their vote. Students’ classes and on-campus activities would not hinder them from reaching the polls. Working class families would be able to freely visit the polls instead of attempting to squeeze in their vote at the end of the work day. Much of the time, people put off voting due to inconvenience. Eliminating that inconvenience would not only help increase voter turnout, but create a more accurate picture of public opinion as well.
While this would be more ideal for voters, the politicians in charge of making such laws would be hesitant to put their job in jeopardy. Much of the political world is based on predicting likely voter turnout, so adding a handful of new, unpredictable votes to the mix is something politicians do not want to chance. Making it easier for people to vote makes a politician more vulnerable, which is partly why many conservatives advocate for voter I.D. laws in their states. Making it more difficult for unpredictable or unfavorable voters to cast a ballot increases their chances of maintaining their position instead of the risk of being unseated.
Yet, giving people like Lasell students more options has proved to increase voter turnout as well as voter interest. States with early voting have seen increases in ballots cast, which is an encouraging sign that our democracy is not yet broken. Making this day a holiday does not guarantee that everyone will take the time to cast their vote, but it will at least allow those who want to vote, but physically can’t, the opportunity to have their voice heard.