Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has a plan to boost turnout on Election Day: give Americans the day off.

Midterm election turnout is historically lower than presidential years, but preliminary returns indicate that Tuesday’s vote saw the lowest participation rate since the 1940s.

{mosads}“Election Day should be a national holiday so that everyone has the time and opportunity to vote,” Sanders said Friday in a statement. “While this would not be a cure-all, it would indicate a national commitment to create a more vibrant democracy.”

Sanders’s Vermont had its lowest voter turnout in recorded history, with 43.7 percent of registered voters participating.

Sanders plans to file a bill once Congress returns next week that would add Election Day to the list of federal holidays. Since many jobs take federal holidays off, the move could reduce the costs associated with voting and free up voters to make it to the polls.

“We should not be satisfied with a ‘democracy’ in which more than 60 percent of our people don’t vote and some 80 percent of young people and low-income Americans fail to vote,” he said.

“We can and must do better than that.”
 
In response to a petition on the issue, the White House said that while it supports increasing “civic participation through voting,” there could be an economic impact from giving Americans another day off from work.
 
In 2005, then-Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) sponsored a bill to make the day a federal holiday, as well as institute other reforms that they believed would bolster turnout.

Tags Bernie Sanders Hillary Clinton John Kerry

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