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Tell President Obama: Make Election Day 2016 a national holiday

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Tell President Obama:

“Issue an executive order making Election Day, November 8, 2016, a federal holiday.”

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    Tell President Obama: Make Election Day 2016 a national holiday

    One of the most effective things we could do right now to increase voter turnout in the U.S. is make Election Day a national holiday, freeing up millions of people to get to the polls and participate in our democracy.

    So far, most efforts to do that have focused on convincing a majority of Congress to pass a bill that would make every Election Day a national holiday. And that has to continue. But there’s one other option that could make a huge impact in the short term: Having President Obama issue an executive order making Election Day in 2016 a one-time national holiday.

    Making November 8, 2016, a national holiday would set a major precedent and underscore the importance of voting. And with this being President Obama’s final year in office, we have to take advantage of this opportunity to score a huge victory for the major progressive goal of increasing voter participation.

    Tell President Obama: Make Election Day 2016 a national holiday.

    Asking President Obama to declare a one-time federal holiday on Election Day this year isn’t as tall of an order as it might seem. After all, the president recently publicly expressed support for the idea of making Election Day a national holiday.1

    Presidents have the power to declare one-time federal holidays by executive order, which don’t need the approval of Congress.2 And while it would only be effective this year, it would set a huge precedent and show what a major effect a holiday could have on voter participation rates.

    In 2014, voter turnout was a depressing 36 percent – the lowest since World War II.3 Low voter participation is a chronic problem in American democracy, and it particularly affects African-Americans, young people and low-income Americans. Making Election Day a holiday would directly address the low participation rates among working, low-income Americans.

    And we also know that when elections have higher voter turnout, they result in more progressive outcomes and policies.4 That fact is exactly why the right-wing has waged a decades-long campaign to disenfranchise voters and make voting as difficult as possible, resulting in the Supreme Court’s horrible 2013 decision to invalidate parts of the Voting Rights Act and pave the way for restrictive voting laws in many states. Today, 11 states have voter ID laws that are known to specifically disenfranchise minority and low-income voters.

    Declaring Election Day 2016 a national holiday would directly combat this disgraceful trend and score a major victory for a long-standing progressive goal. Tell President Obama to act before he leaves office.

    Tell President Obama: Make Election Day 2016 a national holiday.

    Thank you for your activism.

    1. Emily Atkin, "Obama Expresses Support For Making Election Day A National Holiday," ThinkProgress, May 12, 2016.

    2. Brendan Koerner, "Who Can Declare a Holiday?" Slate, June 8, 2004.

    3. Jose A DelReal, "Voter turnout in 2014 was the lowest since WWII," The Washington Post, November 10, 2014.

    4. Sean McElwee, "Why Voting Matters: Large Disparities in Turnout Benefit the Donor Class," Demos, September 16, 2015.