Should we replace Columbus Day with a Day Off For Election Day?

Yes. That’s what I was trying to get at, but you said it way better.

I would think that this is something that Ocasio-Cortez would really understand.

I know it wasn’t mentioned in that article, but Thanksgiving sales actually are illegal in Maine and Massachusetts.

It really isn’t that hard to vote. I get polls are open for 12+ hours in most locations and if you are in line when they close you get to vote. Days off don’t help people who already make the “sacrifice” to get there. It will only marginally increase voting by current non-voters.

This year I heard more people than before say they’d voted early, and/or by mail. I wonder if this is the wave of the future. Who needs a day off for Election Day if you can vote any time at your convenience in the weeks leading up to it?

My first thought is the proposal would make it less likely I’d get to vote. My daughters would get the day off of school and my wife or I would have to stay home to watch them. That would drop us to 50% chance of voting instead of 100%.

Luckily Colorado offers mail in early voting to everyone so i haven’t been to an actual polling place in years and making that national seems like it would be much more useful then a day I’ve to take care of my kids instead of having an hour off from work at lunch or before or after work to vote. Considering Colorado has one of the highest percentages of people voting maybe we should look at what states that have 60+% voter turn out in non presidential elections are doing right.

Yes and with general reference to govt not allowing private businesses to be open, the county next to ours in NJ still has blue laws, stores except grocery (maybe pharmacy?) can’t be open on Sunday, Costco has ropes around the non-food areas on Sunday.

But it needs a very good reason IMO for new laws of that kind. Most of those archaic state/local laws like that don’t have one. They remain in force out of inertia and special interests (like of small store owners for blue laws, not religious feeling). And the federal govt does not force businesses to be closed on its holidays, as illustrated by Columbus Day which most people do not get off. Widespread closures on Christmas etc are a cultural thing,employees don’t want to work and it’s recognized as ‘harsh’ to make them, and not enough customers demanding the services those days for the same reason. There wouldn’t be any such consensus for any new holiday. And there might be a constitutional issue in the federal govt saying businesses had to be closed, to the extent it couldn’t be shoehorned via the commerce clause for businesses which do inherently do interstate commerce whenever they are open. Otherwise what would the constitutional authority be? (and considering this in view of the real Supreme Court as currently constituted).

If they’re old enough to go to school, surely they could come with you to the polling place. In fact, that could be one positive effect of this proposal - expose more people to the concept of voting being a thing you do, when they’re kids

(Though in general, I think that weekend voting is actually the way to go)

Well, since one of the major costs of an election is paying the workers who staff the polling place, having them open 2 days would double the cost. (And might make it hard to get enough workers. I know that I’m beat after a 14-15 hour day working at the polls; I don’t think I could come back to do it again the next day.)

Three states do their elections entirely by mail – no polling places in every precinct at all*. All 3 are in the top 10 states for highers turnout, so doing this nationwide would probably increase turnout for elections.

Both of these ideas are aimed at increasing voter turnout. But one of the major political parties is working in the opposite direction, so there would be opposition to this. Here in Minnesota, individual precincts can decide to switch to only vote-by-mail; many rural precincts (which vote Republican) have done so. But the law specifically excludes the 3 largest cities (which vote Democratic) from doing this. Guess which party pushed for this restriction in the vote-by-mail law?

  • Note that vote-by-mail isn’t necessarily cheaper: the government has to prepare the proper ballot for every registered voter, mail those out to the voter (with a pre-paid reply envelope), and then still need to hire workers to verify, open, sort and count all those ballots. In effect, a whole lot of local tax money goes from paying local workers to pauing the Federal Post Office.

Ehh, school is a relative term I’ve got a 3 week old and a 3 year old. While, yes, the three year old can behave in public it took me and hour to fill out my ballet at home I wouldn’t want to have to watch her in public while looking up the specifics of the judges I’m voting for. For those of you wondering, yes the Montessori school for the 3 year old and the day care for the baby close for every holiday they can justify as well as in service days and both use the local public school calendar.

Yeah, but half of that time was spent squeezing into the tutu.

I think it should be renamed to something like, “Indigenous Peoples Day” to honor and remember the millions that were conquered, killed, and imprisoned on Reservations, and to remember the Indigenous Peoples that were kidnapped from their homeland, brought to America in chains, and forced to work in slavery.

Besides, and even more importantly, Columbus Day is positioned very nicely between Labor Day and Veteran’s Day. Losing that would mean that we would have two solid months without a day off after Labor Day. You wouldn’t want me to suffer, would you? :smiley:

Also, there are states that have elections on odd-number years – the holiday would need to be every year (which is a wash, since the existing one is every year).

That said, it makes more sense to have a multi-day election over a long weekend (with a Monday holiday to commemorate the election’s importance and to reduce the effect of Sabbath restrictions from half to one-third of the available time slot).

Obviously, have Election Day holiday every two years.

A day off on election day is a perfectly reasonable idea. Connecting it to Columbus day, which most people don’t get off, is eye roll worthy virtue signaling. I’m not a fan of that term but ugh, so obvious here.

I think the real issue with her quote is that it’s the perfect example of the changing definition of ‘whiteness.’ Columbus Day now is seen as insensitive because it was a ‘white man’ who did some pretty bad stuff. When it was instituted, it was done so as a minority assimilation tool, similar to Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The idea was to celebrate minority accomplishments. At the time, the same debate we are having today about Hispanics was being waged about Italians. They were ‘flooding the country’ and ‘pushing down wages’ while living in older tenement communities ‘in conditions no white person would.’ There were complaints about language assimilation and cultural degradation as they maintained many old-world Italian traditions like ‘festas’ and ‘Feasts of Seven Fishes.’ They were seen as a long term threat to the stability of the United States. Enter into this the idea that they needed their own cultural heritage day and Columbus fit the bill. He was the man who ‘discovered’ America and the first Italian immigrant. These proposals drew protests then as now, but the protests at the time were largely from White Supremacist groups-primarily the Ku Klux Klan.

Over time though, the definition of ‘whiteness’ has changed and now the oppressed are more identified with the oppressor. After all, no one sees Rudi Giuliani or Rick Santorum as minorities. So Columbus Day has suffered as he went from a plucky minority immigrant facing the unknown to a white oppressor destroying minority cultures. Poor Columbus. It will be interesting to see if MLK ever makes the leap to oppressor. Of course, the real lesson to be learned from this is that identity politics relying on demographics is a dangerous game. Demographics are destiny, but predicting those demographics are much more difficult. Today, Hispanics may be ‘the oppressed,’ but in 40 years, they may be ‘the oppressor.’

It’s worth noting that moving election day would require a constitutional amendment; making it a holiday just requires passing a law. The voting window can be extended backwards to the weekend, but Election Day is going to be the first Tuesday in November.

No, Election Day is set by statute. (Article 2, Section 1, Clause 4) They can change it to whenever they’d like.

Rather than Columbus Day, I think the best argument is to just make election day fall on Veteran’s Day since they are usually the same week anyway.

I’m kind of “meh” about it. It’s not a bad idea, but it’s not really a good idea either. I think people have already pointed out the reasons. I think it would have very little effect on the elections, and would probably be more effective if we had elections on Wed to avoid the 4-day weekend issue. Eliminating Columbus Day would, of course, cause quite a bit of outrage-- some real, some recreational.

Gotta keep it away from the weekend, though, as you run into religious issues and/or getting poll workers to work.

In MN, the polls are open for either 12 or 13 hours. 7 AM to either 7 or 8 PM (I don’t remember which). So I have a hard time believing that there are a lot of people that can’t find time in there.

Maybe it’s a time in lines issue. If so, then the answer isn’t giving government employees a day off (national holiday), it’s finding a way to reduce the lines. If voting takes 20 minutes, then there aren’t many people that can’t find time if they want too.

I noticed this year that some of polling places closed at what seemed an early time. 5 or 6 PM. That seems like it would make voting hard, for someone with a longer commute and working an 8 to 5 job. So why not extend hours, and standardize them?

Polls open from 6 AM to 9 PM, for the whole country, and fixing the issues that create lines, so voting takes 30 minutes or less. Those 2 should eliminate most problems that people want to vote have. Can’t do a whole lot about people that are away from home that day, except early and absentee voting.

How many people actually get to take holidays off automatically but also have a rough enough schedule that there’s difficulty finding enough time to vote? Getting holidays off is more of a white-collar perk, and at least in my experience people working one white collar job have little difficulty voting before or after work, or taking an hour or two in the afternoon to do it. It’s people working multiple jobs, retail jobs, farm jobs, ‘servant’ jobs (like nannies), and the like that are the ones who generally have a hard time voting because of work schedule - and they don’t actually get holidays off. And the white-collar type jobs that do have scheduling issues tend to be ones that don’t get holidays, like the medical field.

This seems like a big symbolic pro-voting gesture that won’t actually do much good for the people who would theoretically benefit from it. If it could be easily passed somewhere then that’s fine, but since Republicans are pro-voter-suppression it would take significant political capital to pass, and I think that effort would be best spent elsewhere.

Really, there’s a lot of reasonable solutions to “people with jobs have trouble voting because they have to work on election day”. Making that day a holiday, having enough polling places so that voting takes half an hour instead of up to five hours (, streamlining the process so you can pick up the ballot and then drop it off, there’s lots of things that can be done.

It just requires broad agreement that voting should be something anyone can do with no hardship. I don’t think we have that, there are plenty of politicians that prefer to make voting more difficult for their political opponents as a way of staying in power.