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Vote_12345LUMPENPROLETARIAT—The 2016 election cycle has presented a new idea for many of us:  Why not make Election Day a federally recognised national holiday?  Do we truly value and pursue democracy?  We teach our children that democracy and civic participation are the greatest virtues.  But do we sincerely mean it?

The fact is, as a society, we don’t really respect our democracy when we deny voters ranked-choice voting, publicly-funded campaigns, and non-profit presidential debates, which feature more than two political parties funded by the rich and powerful. [1]  There are many such anti-democratic deprivations, to which we acquiesce.  We don’t even really give overworked Americans enough time off of work, nor make sure workers are fully compensated for fulfilling their civic duties, such as taking time to be fully informed and casting informed ballots at the voter polls.  It seems the number one excuse people give for not voting is not being able to take time off from work, or not being able to afford to take time off from work.

If you think democracy deserves its own holiday, please consider signing a petition to that effect and working to make that a reality.  For example, one can sign this petition. [2]

Messina

 

Demand a 2016 Election Day Holiday” by Brave New Films

Why do we vote on Tuesdays?” by Take Part

Bernie Sanders Supporter Slays Condescending CNN Pundit with Facts” by The Humanist Report

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[1]  With ranked-choice voting, one may choose more than one candidate ranked in order by preference.  If one’s first choice doesn’t win the election, one’s vote is immediately reassigned to our next choice, and so on.  Ranked-choice voting, not only takes away the anti-democratic spoiler vote argument made against alternative candidates, but it makes our system much more truly democratic.  Even progressively-minded filmmaker Michael Moore resorted to anti-democratic antics by attempting to shame, and pleading on live television with, Ralph Nader not to run against Al Gore on live television.  (That was easily one of Moore’s career lows.)

There are many other desperately needed changes we can make to our democratic process, which can only help improve the ability of our electoral process to reflect the popular will of the people, rather than that of rich and powerful elites.  Public funding of campaigns is another example.  We used to have publicly funded campaigns until Ronald Reagan ended that legislation.  The Citizens United decision in the Supreme Court, then increased the influence of the rich and powerful by allowing for unlimited amounts of money to be poured into campaigns by elites.

Further damage to our democratic process came when the Fairness Doctrine, which was intended to ensure that controversial perspectives were not suppressed or censored from broadcast media, was killed in the 1980s under U.S. president Ronald Reagan.  Today, we have a broadcast media, which leans heavily in favour of corporate- and establishment-type candidates, such as Donald Trump.  Studies have shown that Republican presidential nominee candidate Donald Trump gets upwards of 30 times as much broadcast air time than Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.  One headline by The Nation reads:  “The Discourse Suffers When Trump Gets 23 Times As Much Coverage as Sanders”.  Such headlines are all the more dramatic when we find that various polls actually show Sanders handily defeating Trump.

[2]  This particular petition was distributed via email by Common Cause.  But there are other similar petitions available online, such as one by Credo.

Also see Democracy Day, proposed by John Conyers back in 2005:

Democracy Day is the tentative name of a possible federal holiday in the United States, proposed by Democratic Representative John Conyers of Michigan.

Conyers’ proposed the holiday in Resolution (H.R.) 63 – Democracy Day Act of 2005. The bill called for the Tuesday after the first Monday in November of every even-numbered year, Election Day, to be a legal public holiday. The purpose of the holiday was to increase voter turnout by giving citizens more time to vote, as well as to allow for the opening of more polling places with more workers while raising awareness of the importance of voting and civic participation.

The bill was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in January 2005 and ultimately had 110 co-sponsors. The bill has since lapsed and would need to be reintroduced before the proposal could be reconsidered.

A companion resolution was introduced in the Senate on May 26, 2005 by Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. It was co-sponsored by Democratic Senators Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Carl Levin of Michigan. The companion resolution did not leave the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and has now also lapsed.

The bill was recently reintroduced on Nov. 12, 2014 by independent Senator Bernie Sanders. It has not been enacted.

Other movements to enact the holiday are Election Holiday and Democracy Day @electiondayoff

Also see similar petitions:

  • Credo
  • Bernie Sanders 2014 petition

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[Image of ranked-choice voter ballot by UkraineToday at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Shizhao using CommonsHelper, Public Domain.]

[24 MAY 2016]

[Last modified  10:49 PDT  25 MAY 2016]

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