Holidays mark celebrations of people and occasions we deem important as a community. Labor Day, Veterans Day, New Year’s Day, Juneteenth. But you know what day is incredibly important to all of us but isn’t a holiday? Election Day.
That is, until now! A new law going into effect July 1 makes Election Day––the first Tuesday in November–– every year a state holiday in Virginia. It makes sense, right? Election Day is a celebration of democracy and self-governance, a time when we are all equal as Americans, casting a ballot to have our say. Personally, I think Election Day is even better than Christmas and that’s already a holiday, too.
But making Election Day a holiday isn’t just about marking the occasion, it’s also about making our democracy more functional because we all know it’s not a spectator sport. Even with the expansion of absentee voting (woohoo!) LOTS of people are still going to vote on Election Day. Establishing Election Day as a state holiday means state employees will have the day off. Hopefully that will encourage more private employers to close as well. That means working folks don’t have to try to shoehorn voting into an already busy day. They have a whole day to celebrate our democracy!
Another reason why an Election Day holiday is great? Y’all, we need more poll workers. Poll workers make the (election) world go round and are essential to running safe and secure elections. Every year, it is a challenge to recruit enough poll workers to staff all the in-person polling places. Most poll workers are seniors and in the midst of a pandemic, interacting with thousands of people in a day isn’t the safest thing for them. So, more people with the day off=more people who can serve as poll workers and make this whole democracy thing really shine.
So, here’s what you need to do. 1) Check in with your local registrar’s office and see if you can serve as a poll worker this year. 2) VOTE. 3) Do a little holiday dance because Election Day is a holiday!
Check out our other bills highlighted in Progress Virginia’s Christmas in July: