Should election day be a federal holiday? | The Tylt
In their first act as the majority party in the House, Democrats introduced H.R. 1, legislation that would tackle a wide range of election-related issues. Along with prohibiting the purging of voter rolls and requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns, the bill would declare election day a federal holiday. Democrats say the holiday will allow many more Americans to cast their votes. Republicans claim it is an expensive "power grab." What do you think?
Should election day be a federal holiday?
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been the most outspoken critic of the legislation, taking to the Senate floor to denounce the bill. Per the Washington Post:
In remarks on the Senate floor, McConnell (R-Ky.) said Democrats “want taxpayers on the hook for generous new benefits for federal bureaucrats and government employees,” including making Election Day a “new paid holiday for government workers.”
“So this is the Democrats’ plan to ‘restore democracy,’” McConnell said, describing the legislation as “a political power grab that’s smelling more and more like what it is.”
McConnell was also beating this drum earlier in January in a Washington Post op-ed where he accused Democrats of trying to swing elections in their favor.
Democrats would also like you to pay for generous new benefits for federal bureaucrats. Their bill proposes making Election Day a new paid holiday for government workers and six additional days’ paid vacation for federal bureaucrats to work the polls during any election. This is the Democrats’ plan to “restore democracy”: extra taxpayer-funded vacation for bureaucrats to hover around while Americans cast their ballots.
Shortly after McConnell's statements on the floor, his Democratic colleagues dragged him on Twitter. Senator and presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted that the legislation was not meant as a "power grab," but as a way to better facilitate our representative democracy.
According to Vox, most non-voters cite issues with work or childcare as their reason for not visiting the polls.
The proposal to make Election Day a federal holiday is based on a simple reality: A wide swath of the American public doesn’t vote — and most of those nonvoters say they skipped the polls because they had to work or get kids to school and didn’t have the time.
Currently, more than 20 states require employers to allow paid time off to vote. Others require employers to allow unpaid time off. Voting rights activists argue that making Election Day a federal holiday would promote more civic participation. Detractors say a federal holiday would be too big an ask of businesses that rely on day-to-day revenue.
H.R. 1 would go a long way towards alleviating these issues, increasing the number of citizens who are able to reach the polls in every election.