ATLANTA — For many Americans, voting on Election Day is a tradition, and some wonder why it’s not a national holiday.
The COVID-19 pandemic convinced many Americans to vote by mail or vote early to avoid crowds. Still, Election Day turnout is expected to be quite impressive. 11Alive Morning Rush Insider Ricardo Jacobs believes there’s a better way to accommodate all of the people who want to vote on Election Day.
“I believe Election Day should be a holiday so we can get our maximum participation,” says Jacobs.
Let’s look at why Congress has never made Election Day a national holiday.
Nearly three million Americans admitted to the U.S. Census Bureau that they didn’t vote in the last presidential election because of their busy schedules. Past efforts to make Election Day a holiday have failed. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel is among the people who don’t see it as necessary.
“Conceivably, a state might make it a state holiday,” says University of Georgia Political Science Professor Dr. Charles Bullock. “Some European countries do this, but the U.S. never has.”
There are arguments that another holiday with fewer people working would be costly to the economy.
Others point out that the founding fathers didn’t see the need for a holiday.
Emory Political Science Professor Andra Gillespie says tradition is part of the American political process.
“Tradition is tradition, and once you start a habit it’s a really hard habit to break,” says Gillespie. “There are some people who resist making changes to the election system in terms of making it easier to vote.”
Several states have turned Election Day into a state holiday.
Others, like Georgia, have early voting and absentee voting to help with busy schedules.
Congress now has the latest proposal to create a federal holiday. It passed the House last year, but there’s been no action on it since then.