"It goes both ways. You could take the day off and push for McCain as well. There are some people that want to see the voting day moved to a more practical time. The 1st Tuesday in November was chosen by President Taylor in 1845. At that time, it was a good day after the harvest when predominantly agrarian men would have plenty of time to go to the polls. It was also when the weather was still mild enough and dry enough as to not hinder travel. After observing Sunday as a day of rest, farmers used Monday to travel to often far-away voting sites for the Tuesday vote.
We should examine making election day a bigger deal in this country. The US lags behind many other nations in voter turnout (this year may be an exception). A friend from Russia, spoke of the parties and celebrations they had on election day. It was a national holiday so nobody had to work. Many things were available in the markets (he mentions bananas) that couldn't be had any other time of the year. All of these things were incentives to get people to get out of their home and vote.There has been some push to move election day to a more practical day. Scheduling elections on a day when so many Americans must also go to work or school flies in the face of our nation's mission to open democracy for all, makes it difficult or impossible for most parents to take their children to the polls (instilling the importances of voting), and makes chaos at polling centers inevitable.*"
(*Brian's comments as posted here are a compilation of two comments he actually left due to a confusion over my blog moderator procedure.)
Brian, dude, I love 'ya, you know I do. But I not only disagree with this, I have to say I vehemently disagree with it. First I'll address the view of moving election day to a more practical day: It no longer matters what specific day the election is held on. According to The National Conference of State Legislatures, early voting is available in every state in the union. Voters are no longer restricted to having to be at their particular polling place on a particular date during a particular time. For the most part, you can now avoid long lines, you can vote in a more convenient location, you can even mail in your ballot, if need be. Heck, in our area alone, there's been 9 locations available for early voting (which started 17 days prior to the official election date). With the early voting available all across this country, I think it certainly gives a wide enough time frame for people to get in and cast their vote if they want to.
Now, my big area of disagreement...the notion of making election day a "bigger deal" in this country. I'm not sure what you mean by that. A bigger deal? Heck, it is a huge deal to me. Why? Because I pay attention. Because I seek out information and views. Because I make it my business to learn what I can and try to discuss with others so that I can learn even more. So how could election day be a bigger deal? I assume everybody who cares about the direction our country is going in is making election day a big deal. Who isn't? The person who doesn't care? The person who only gets involved when he's offered a cigarette or a buck for his efforts? The person who expects his government to take care of his every need? I gotta tell 'ya...voting is a privilege. Yeah, a privilege. Not just a right. This is a prime example of (to paraphrase President John F. Kennedy) what we can do for our country, not what our country can do for us. It shouldn't be made into a national holiday. It shouldn't be "celebrated" with incentives and enticements to get people out to vote. People should get out to vote because they feel driven to say their part, cast their ballot, have their voice heard. You make election day a national holiday and voter turnout will plummet to all time lows. "Election Day Sales" down at your local Lowe's, Home Depot and car dealerships nationwide might skyrocket, but I can guarantee you that voter turnout will not increase in any way, shape or form. For heaven's sake, look at our current national holidays: Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday. What do you do on that day? Me? Not much. Hang out with my husband, since he's off work that day. I'm not out there talking up the best points of what was most assuredly a great man. Not many Americans are. Presidents Day/Washington's birthday. What do you do on that day? Me? Same as MLK day. Hang with my husband. I'm not thinking of ways of honoring Washington or Lincoln. Sorry. I think very highly of both of them, but hey, that day isn't truly dedicated to thoughts of them. I'd venture to say most Americans feel the same way. Independence Day. What do you do on that day? Me? Well, we might go check out some fireworks. Or we might drive up to my dad's. Go to a BBQ maybe. Usually, we just hang out, though. I do think of the blessing of being an American. I do take some time to marvel at what a great country we live in. But I'm not out there trying to improve America in any other way on that day, other than telling my kids how blessed we all are to live here. Veteran's Day. What do you do on that day? Me? Well, we might go to a local parade. We might take a moment to think about our family's and friends' service to our nation. But by and large, we don't make a big effort to congregate with other people in an effort to "celebrate" the day. Not many people do, really. It's a good day to honor our fallen, but that doesn't take any truly physical effort on our part. We only have to use our prayers and our hearts to do it.
The bottom line is, you give Americans a holiday, and you'll get a bunch of laid back Americans. Sorry, but that's the way of it. We all love a holiday, but we don't necessarily honor that holiday with its intended purpose. But even if that wasn't the case, even if it was made into a holiday and Americans made a big effort and decided to go out and vote before they hit the couch, I would still disagree with making it an actual holiday. Because again, voting is something we should be doing for our country. Getting the entire day off of work in order to cast our vote is not something our country (or employers for that matter) should be doing for us. We all have ample time and opportunity to get our votes in. It's a matter of what, if any, effort we want to put out. It doesn't actually take a lot of effort now. Making it a holiday won't make it any easier. It'll just make it easier to turn election day into another free day off from work. Period. The problem with voter turnout isn't "getting to the polls". It's a mindset of some Americans who feel like it's too much of a "hassle", or it's too "inconvenient" or it just "doesn't matter". Giving Americans the day off won't change that thinking. It's a personification of that old saying "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink". Exact same thing.
As far as instilling the importance of voting in our children, I think I've done that with my kids. I talk to them about the candidates, about the issues, about the vote. I love discussing politics with them even though politics has become a dirty subject to many of my fellow citizens for some reason. I show my kids how excited I am to vote. I show them my passion for finding out the truth and for investigating issues and stands. I don't need for my kids to see me "touch the screen" or "punch the chad" or "fill in the little circle" in order to instill the importance of voting in them. They understand that by the importance we give election discussions that go on in our household.
And finally...Brian, I have to say, when we start taking voting cues from the likes of Russia, we're in bigger trouble in this country than I could have ever imagined. Prime Minister Putin and his puppet president can keep their damn bananas. I'll take my reward in the form of knowing I did my part. I cast my ballot. I let my voice be heard. Considering all that America has done for me, I figure voting is the least I can do for her.