Voting is the hallmark of a working democracy. Elections where the people decide who is going to lead them and their voice is heard. It should be that simple, right? Then why isn’t it? There are a number of answers to that question. The first answer I will give you is that ours is not a working democracy, for many reasons–first of all, our system is not a democracy. A democracy is a system of government where a majority of the votes decides the outcome of an election. The popular vote is what a democracy is beholden to. In the United States of America, what we have is a democratic republic. For lack of a better definition, a democratic republic is what we have in our country, where the Electoral College makes the decision of the winner of an election. Delegates and a certain amount of assigned votes to each state are given, and the candidate who gets the highest number of those electoral votes is declared the winner. There have been a number of candidates who have lost elections after winning the popular vote–most recently and famously, Al Gore, whose Presidency might have contained a much different future for our country than what we’re facing now. In a democratic republic, or the awful system of the Electoral College at its core, disenfranchises voters and nullifies the votes of the “losing” side. This system works in favor of the status quo, of the people who benefit from a smaller voting pool. The George W. Bushes of the world, the Hillary Clintons and other corporate puppet candidates. Candidates who represent the will of the people, who are elected by the people and seek to serve the people understand that when voter turnout is high and when each vote is represented, the winner is the candidate who will act in the interests of the people. Bernie Sanders is that candidate this time around. In order to elect the right leader for the country at this time, we need voter turnout to be high. We need to ensure that voting is easier, not harder. How are we going to do this? My first answer would be to disband and do away with the entire Electoral College system–however, this is not a feasible solution and will not be done in time for November. However, there is one change that could be taken to ensure a high voter turnout and a higher likelihood of electing the correct candidates: making Election Day on November 8 a National Holiday.
Why would making Election Day a National Holiday work toward creating a high voter turnout? The answer may be obvious, but I’m going to spell it out. The most common reason for people to not get involved with politics is that they have a job. It makes sense, doesn’t it? People need a job to support themselves and their families, so they have to forego their right as Americans in order to work. Their RIGHT. What kind of honorable political system would make it more difficult for its people to exercise a right of theirs? A “right” is defined as “a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way.” Which means that it should be the right of every American to walk off the job or not attend work in order to vote for which leader they think will serve their interests in the post the candidate is seeking. Or, in a way that makes more sense, it should be every American’s right to have the day off on Election Day. We have National Holidays for other things: namely, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Indpendence Day, Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. If we can have days off work to celebrate the day we became a country, why not a day to ensure that our country goes in the direction the people desire? The answer is obvious and it’s already been stated above: because it is in the interest of people with power to limit the amount of votes that are cast in an election. Out of all the candidates up for election to the Presidency, only Bernie Sanders has led the charge to make this a possibility. In fact, if you do a Google search for “make election day a national holiday”, the first result that comes up is Bernie Sanders’ webpage, with the html link (www.sanders.senate.gov/democracyday). This is a huge thing, and not enough people are making it a thing.
Bernie Sanders has proposed a bill to designate Democracy Day as a national election holiday to make it easier for Americans to vote. You can read Bernie’s Bill at the link above. Just click the button that says “READ THE BILL”. See for yourself which candidate values the voice of the people and democracy in general. There is only one candidate.
Nationwide, the numbers say that the last election resulted in only 36.6 percent of Americans casting a ballot. 37 PERCENT if you round up. 37 percent is nowhere near a majority of Americans, so why should the Presidential Election of 2014 have decided anything? The majority of Americans did not vote for Barack Obama…the majority of Americans WHO WERE ABLE TO VOTE elected Barack Obama. This is an extraordinary miscarriage of justice when over 60 percent of Americans did not have a voice in who was supposed to lead them. Democracy Day needs to be a thing because in this day and age, it is inexcusable for an American to not be able to vote and raise his or her voice and say who they want to lead them. We should not be satisfied with a system where 60 percent of our people don’t vote and something closer to 80 percent of young people and poor people don’t vote.
It’s as simple as that. We do not live in a democracy, even though we are told that we do. We still won’t be living in a democracy even if Democracy Day becomes the newest National Holiday. But it’s an extremely important step to fulfilling the legacy of democracy and the voice of the people. If you agree with me, please go to this link and sign the petition to make Election Day a National Holiday: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/call-for-federal-holiday Unfortunately it is not linked with Senator Sanders, so it’s titled Vote Day rather than Democracy Day, but it is a way to make your voice heard and to cast a voice in the direction of giving all other Americans their voice.
Please remember, the only people not voting serves is those who are already in power and who do not want to lose it. Let’s make change happen.