Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced last Friday his intention to push legislation that would render Election Day a national holiday, giving more Americans a chance to vote, The Huffington Post reported. This is the best idea any politician has had in a long time, and with sound reasoning also.
“In America, we should be celebrating our democracy and doing everything possible to make it easier for people to participate in the political process,” said Sanders. “Election Day should be a national holiday so that everyone has the time and opportunity to vote. While this would not be a sure-all, it would indicate a national commitment to create a more vibrant democracy.”
Sanders’s idea for the “Democracy Day Act of 2014,” came about as an answer to the low voter turnout of this year’s midterm elections. Only 37 percent of Americans went to polls on November 4, making that the lowest turnout since 1942.
It should be expected to receive opposition from the Republican side of the aisle as the conservatives would think the measure is intended to favor liberals. However, making Election Day into a national holiday would be all-inclusive. The law doesn’t suppress voter turnout; it would broaden it.
The HuffPo reported that the majority of the voter turnout this year belonged to older, white males as compared to other election cycles where the turnout was more diverse. A mere 13 percent of voters were aged 18-29 years.
Although voter turnout is higher during the presidential election cycles, Sanders did note that even during those years the turnout is depressingly low compared to other democratic countries. Voter turnout in the United States is behind 120 other countries, the HuffPo reported.
Sanders has the right idea and will file the bill next week. The country has many national holidays dedicated to paying homage to our past. Maybe it is time for us to have a national holiday that allows more present-day Americans to contribute to the country’s future.