If there is one thing the election of 2016 proved, it’s that Election Day needs to be a National Holiday. This has been proposed on many occasions. And thus far, it has never happened. But, this election made it mandatory for a number of reasons.
To begin with, Election Day being a national holiday will make more than the 59% turnout of 2016 the norm. This number should be no less then 70% on a presidential election year. I’m not saying voting should be mandatory like in Australia and other jurisdictions. That would blatantly go against the intent of the framers. I’m just saying, let’s make it easier to vote. The easier it is to go out and vote, the stronger the possibility that more people will vote. And, the more people who vote, the fairer the outcome will be to all sides. There can be no argument against this.
There is simply no reason why this isn’t already the case. And, one more national holiday will hurt no one. In fact, it may help worker output in the days after the election.
But, that’s not the only point I’m going to make in this article. The Constitutional Amendment required to do this must include two other things:
- No more early voting. The argument against this is clear. It would contravene the intent of the Amendment in the first place. I disagree. Election Day 2016 proved one thing. The facts of the election and desire of the populace change daily. In fact, they changed in Election 2016 up until the date of the election. Many people voted two to three weeks before the election. In that time period, Hillary Clinton was both put under investigation and exonerated by the FBI. Donald Trump was thought to be hopelessly behind. Many people probably stayed home. Early voting does not help under these circumstances. It only hurts.
- Lastly, absentee ballots will be limited. The voter must prove the inability to get to their polling place. They can prove this by travel commitments or by handicap. Allowing everyone to vote by absentee ballot contravenes the intent of the Amendment. You cannot pick a proper candidate three weeks before the election. Further, in that regard, all permitted absentee ballots must be returned no earlier than five days before the election. If someone meets the requirements of voting by mail, returning the ballot earlier ruins the intent of the Amendment.
The important thing here is to get each voter the most information prior to casting his or her ballot. Anything less does not work.
However, I know Democrats will argue this will lead to voter suppression. Again, I disagree. Isn’t it easier to go the polls if the day is a holiday? Doesn’t your vote mean more if you are aware of all of the most up to date facts? What is more important that these? Nothing that I can think of.
Who knows? On Election Day 2016, voting on November 8 may have actually benefited Hillary Clinton. The FBI did not prosecute. And, Donald Trump may have made one of his expected mistakes on November 7.