What better way to honor those who fought for America’s freedoms than to vote? What better reason to remember why we vote than to vote on Veterans Day?
Veterans Day, November 11, is set based on the armistice of World War I. US Election Day, the first Tuesday after the first Monday comes from a law passed in 1845, a different time in a different era when farmers getting to the county seat by horse was the defining constraint.
Election Day, the last day on which votes can be cast, should be a full-fledged Federal Holiday, one that is respected as much as Christmas, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King’s Birthday, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving. The nearest holiday happens to be Veterans Day, which has fallen into the second class of holiday, like Columbus Day or Presidents Day (Washington and Lincolns Birthdays), earning a day off for federal and bank employees, but not almost everyone.
Of course, one day is not enough, and early voting (by mail or in person) should be encouraged for Election Week leading up to Election Day, so people have an opportunity to cast ballots regardless of their personal schedule. But the biannual ritual of voting for federal (and many state and local) offices should be aligned.
This means that Election Day is a different day of the week each election (until we get Calendar Reform, which is to say never), which is why Election Week exists. Still, with a federal holiday, it will be hard to miss, and 11/11 is fairly memorable, far more memorable than the first Tuesday after the first Monday.
One might also hope that aligning it with Veterans Day will somber everyone up. And we could all wear poppies.