It’s Time to Declare Voting Day a National Holiday


November 8th, 2016. It’s the big day—we’ve been bombarded with political mail, relentless emails, blinding Facebook posts, persuasive videos, short informative clips, and numerous heated conversations for months, and here we are. The country has narrowed down our options, and we’re down to the final two. This is an election no one could have predicted and won’t soon be forgotten. For shit’s sake, this is history—a woman running on one side, and a businessman on the other! And it’s the first election I’ll be old enough to vote in. I’ve been doing my best to keep up.

But, while my focus should be on weighing my options and making a concrete decision the night before voting, I’m sitting in front of my open planner, scratching and scribbling, trying to frantically find enough time to drive to my old high school and cast my vote.

“Maybe…I can sneak out of class early,” I mumble. I feel guilty just thinking about it. “Well, I could skip the studio…” I quickly remember my studio log—a key component to my major—and instinctively shake my head. Not the best idea I’ve had.

“I teach at 2:50…then a meeting…and another meeting…” By now, I’m weighing which is more important—my (very expensive) education, or participating in my democracy?

Then it hits me. Why do I need to choose?

So, a minute ago, I called this election historic. And I still mean that, but let me also add, now that I still have you reading, that it’s also terrifying. I won’t speak to either side of this, but however you look at it—pro Trump or pro Hillary—it’s scary to think what will happen once the votes are in. I was thinking riots. Have you ever seen War of the Worlds? The one with Tom Cruise? There’s a scene where everything’s demolished and these freaky robot alien things are just killing people, left and right.

That was my prediction of the US post-election.

But we’re all still here and I’m writing this just days after, so I’d say we’re doing pretty well, considering. Anyway, back to the point—I wanted some time to vote and bunker down. I really could have used the time to cast my vote, buy a couple cases of Spaghettios, take out cash, and bribe someone with a bomb shelter to let me camp out for a couple days.

Plus, kids in high school get the day off anyway. I know they have to have the day off, since we use the buildings for voting, but if we’re already cancelling school, we might as well just call the whole day off! It only happens once every four years, one day of cancelled classes and work couldn’t possibly hurt anyone. Considering, also, that everyone would stay up until about 3am to find out who the next president would be, we could all have used the sleep that morning.

In the end, I was able to run and vote early, on my way to campus, but if I had been running late that morning, or if there was a bigger line for “J,” I would have been faced with the daunting decision between my future after college and my stake in the future of the country.

I think it’s really important to encourage everyone of age to vote—to do their research and take their opinions to the polls. In my opinion, keeping school and work hours completely normal for the election is pretty inhibiting, especially to new voters. It’s bad enough most young voters wonder whether or not their vote will matter or make a difference, but to make it harder to physically get to the polls and vote just puts  added and unnecessary stress on everyone.

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