Yes, there are early voting booths and absentee ballots available for people who cannot stand in line at their local precinct. But, why do we insist on having elections on work days? Why is it that we seem to make it a barrier administratively for a voter to who may have a 12-14 hour work day plus commute? And, might it signal the value of civic duty to mandate that all industry stop to honor the responsibility of being a citizen?
I argue that we should make one more national holiday–Election Day! Once a year, the public is tasked with a sabbath where voting is the only work allowed. People can still choose to not vote, however, a “Citizens’ Day” that squarely gives honor to our participation may bring us together regardless of our voting preferences. To meet your neighbors in the polling line and to celebrate with a neighborhood BBQ could become a tradition that transcends our cultural, political, and personal differences.
Valuing the individual’s place in the process puts a “We the people” punctuation on our election process. Local issues, many times, are what can potentially change the quality of life for us. The idea of grass roots means something. But, we get trapped in the bigness of cable news polls and TV ads that bombard us. The idea that we make a difference should be noted and celebrated beyond our twitter feeds.
The logistics of this are not difficult. And, yes, we do have options to not have to vote on the day of election. However, there is something to be said in a communal act–even one that serves ourselves. I am not sure this will change those who pass on voting, but I do think it might very well offer space to celebrate those that do.
What are your thoughts: should we vote as a national holiday, on a weekend, or keep status quo?