Florence, Mass. (October 14, 2021): The Freedom to Vote Act is expected to come up for a vote in the Senate next Wednesday. One little-discussed provision in the landmark voting rights bill would make Election Day a national holiday. In a new analysis, RepresentUs found that 19 states already celebrate voting with an official holiday, representing about 43 percent of the voting age population.
“Designating Election Day a national holiday makes clear the importance of voting, and would give people the time they need to exercise this fundamental right,” said RepresentUs CEO Josh Silver. “Nearly 20 states already do it, and the American people want it. What better way to celebrate our democracy than with a national holiday dedicated to voting?”
The Freedom to Vote Act would make federal elections, which happen every two years in November, a national holiday. This means non-essential federal employees would get the day off, and many states and private companies would likely follow suit. Passing the Freedom to Vote Act would set the stage for many Americans to receive a day off work for Election Day.
States of varying sizes and political leanings already consider voting such an important activity that it merits holiday status, though the exact policy details vary among the states. The exact policy details vary between states. Some, including Kentucky, only grant the day off for presidential elections, while other states, including Indiana, extend it to primaries as well. Michigan is among the states that make even-year general elections an official holiday.
Approximately 73,139,000 -- or 43 percent of voters -- live in states with some form of an Election Day holiday. Some states without a voting holiday offer voters paid time off to go cast their ballots. However, making it a federal holiday would be more impactful for the average American. Polling also shows that a strong majority of Americans support a national election holiday.
In addition to creating a new federal holiday, the Freedom to Vote Act also bans partisan gerrymandering at the congressional level and protects early voting and mail-in voting. RepresentUs urges the Senate to pass the bill by any means necessary, which will likely require fixing the filibuster. An analysis of state legislature filibuster rules could provide the U.S. Senate with ideas for filibuster reform.
“We should be making it easier for people to vote, not harder. Passing the Freedom to Vote Act and making Election Day a holiday would send a strong message to voters that their voices matter,” said Silver.
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Rachel Barnhart, RepresentUs Public Relations Director, firstname.lastname@example.org