Early Voting, Absentee Voting and Election Day as a Holiday
Early voting, no excuse absentee voting, and making Election Day a holiday would convenience voters and potentially increase participation in the democratic process.

Early Voting and No Excuse Absentee Voting:

The government should give its citizens every opportunity to vote. If an eligible voter will not be home on Election Day or needs to vote by mail, that person should be able to do so without having to explain their reason. Unfortunately, 14 states do not allow early or in-person absentee voting, and 22 states and the District of Columbia require their citizens to provide an excuse for voting absentee by mail. The only way to promote participation and minimize barriers is to enact laws that give voters the flexibility to participate in the electoral process, even if they cannot be there on Election Day.

Election Day as a Holiday:

Another potential reform is to make Election Day a holiday. This would increase the pool of potential poll workers and shorten lines for voters, because of a more even distribution of participants throughout the day. Puerto Rico makes Election Day a holiday, and its residents regularly vote at rates far higher than most states. Senators John Kerry and Hillary Clinton introduced legislation during the 109th Congress to make Election Day a federal holiday, but it did not pass.

Policy Recommendations:

  • Early voting should be adopted by all states and voting districts to decrease Election Day lines and give voters more time to vote.
  • The federal government should designate Election Day as a national holiday to give all eligible citizens a real opportunity to vote and promote the importance of American democracy.