Congress is not the only place where consequential decisions about voting rights can be made.
The big media outlets tend to cover Congress because their decisions affect the greatest number of their customers, and so the stories of good work to expand voting rights elsewhere often get overlooked.
Yesterday, the city of Sandusky in Ohio (population 24,800) decided to stop observing Columbus Day as a national holiday and instead give the city workers Election Day off as a holiday. Their city manager, Eric Wobser, said this: “We are swapping them to prioritize Voting Day as a day off so that our employees can vote.”
Someone in that Ohio city decided this was a good idea and pushed it. And now city employees will have a much easier time voting going forward.
What about your city? Could you reach out to your city officials and ask them to consider the idea? Better yet, are there any organizations in your town who are working on lobbying city officials to make this change? If so, get involved! What about your state representatives. Have you called your state-level legislators recently? Seems like a good question to ask them: Is there any legislation being considered to make Election Day a state-recognized holiday? And if not, would you consider drafting a bill?
Yes, the Democrats in the House have the HR1 bill (the For the People Act) that would make Election Day a federal holiday. Recall that it was this provision in the bill that Mitch McConnell derided as a “power grab.” With an attitude like that, it is unlikely that when the Democrats pass the bill in the House, it won’t see the time of day in the Senate until Mitch McConnell is gone, and the Democrats take the majority again.
You have public opinion on your side if you choose to push this idea in your city or state. The Pew Research Center found bipartisan majority support for the idea: 71% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents and 59% of Republicans and GOP leaners said they would support making Election Day a national holiday.
We should all find ways to make voting easier, not harder. This is just one way.