Monday, November 10, 2014

Senator Bernie Sanders' Proposed Democracy Day Elections in America

Vermont's junior Senator, Bernie Sanders, has proposed a new federal holiday, Democracy Day,  making Election Day into a national holiday, a day off work so everyone can make it to the polls.

Senator Sanders has a Democracy Day website where you can sign up, via petition, to support his Democracy Day bill.

A couple paragraphs from the Democracy Day website....

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.

We should not be satisfied with a "democracy" in which more than 60 percent of our people don't vote and some 80 percent of young people and low-income Americans fail to vote. We can and must do better than that. While we must also focus on campaign finance reform and public funding of elections, establishing an Election Day holiday would be an important step forward.

I have long thought it odd that America's biggest election days, those being the every four years presidential elections and the mid-term elections, take place on a Tuesday, that being a working day for most Americans lucky enough to have a job.

Saturday would seem to be a much more logical day for an election.

I don't know if the premise behind the idea of turning election day into a national holiday would result in more  voters going to the polls.

Voting is already extremely easy to do, without going to the polls on voting day.

When I lived  in Washington, I, like most Washingtonians, voted via a permanent absentee ballot, which basically is voting by mail.

My current location, Texas, has the absentee ballot option, plus many days of early voting where one can go to a polling place and do their voting, which is what I did a week before the most recent election day.

So, I am thinking the low voter turnout is not a a function of election day taking place on a workday, I think it is more a function of way too many people thinking that voting does not matter, that voting does not effect them, that voting makes no difference in their lives.

Convincing people that voting matters, that would seem to me to more likely result in a real Democracy Day.

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