Wednesday, November 30, 2011

National Votes-and-Vets Day

Participate and honor.

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It's time to make Election Day a national holiday – but you can't have another day off.

This past Election Day I took leave to visit with voters at the polls; my kids were off from public school for teachers' work day (though that's another discussion).  Many voters weren't so fortunate.

In Virginia the polls were open from 6am to 7pm.  Hmmm ... let's see.  If I can't take the day off and I work in downtown DC from 8am to 5pm and my commute is one hour (if I'm lucky), I have an hour to vote in the morning and an hour to vote in the evening.  No problem, right?

Yeah, right.  If the kids are off school and the spouse works full-time, my chance to vote is shot.  So here I am:  taking care of business, taking care of my family, and I've lost the opportunity to cast my ballot because of constraints put on poll access.

So I propose a national holiday for general elections:  make it the second Wednesday in November and consolidate it with the celebration of Veterans Day.

You might say, what?  Lose the chance to honor our veterans?  I say, what better way to honor the veterans who served our country in uniform than by serving our country as citizens at the ballot box.

We need to continue to find ways to increase voting participation.  For now, this is a straightforward solution that reminds us of what we're trying to protect.  Honor our veterans:  go vote!