Democracy Day: Let’s Make the Next Election a National Holiday
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I’ve written about Vermont senator Bernie Sanders before. The will-he won’t-he possible Presidential contender has a lot of great ideas, and whether or not you believe he has a snowball’s chance of winning the presidency, it’s clear that he will, at the very least, continue doing everything he can to steer the national political discussion in a productive direction.
I might be a big Sanders fan, but even I didn’t know about one particularly excellent suggestion he made recently: to institute a national “Democracy Day,” which would make major US elections national holidays.
The why is obvious: the 2014 midterm elections saw the lowest voter turnout in 72 years. While I’m as desperately fed up with our leaders as the next guy, failing to turn up at the polls doesn’t send a message so much as it simply waves a white flag. We surrender, is now the American people’s message to Washington. Do as you will.
Senator Sanders recognizes this, and is calling on us to support the democratic process and our important role in it. With that in mind, he has put forward a bill to make Election Day a national holiday—as it should have been from the start.
You can read about the bill, and pledge your support, here.
While voter fatigue is understandable, it’s unacceptable that more than 60% of our citizens don’t feel sufficiently invested in the process to even take part. And when you single out young people and low-income Americans, that number rises to about 80%.
We shouldn’t be forced to take time off from work to help decide the future of our country. We shouldn’t have to choose between making a living and getting invested in the democratic process. Campaign and election reform as a whole needs to become a serious priority in this country right now, but as first steps go, Democracy Day is a good place to start.