Home Law OPINION: Sandusky takes a big step in making Election Day a holiday

OPINION: Sandusky takes a big step in making Election Day a holiday

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Opinion writer Maddie Kramer argues Sandusky’s decision to make Voting Day a paid holiday should be replicated across Ohio, and the country at large. 

Many Ohioans know Sandusky as the “Rockin’ Roller Coast,” home to roller coasters notorious for setting records. Now Sandusky is in the news regarding local politics. As of Jan. 30, Sandusky removed Columbus Day as a government holiday and made Election Day a government holiday.

This is a progressive step for a town of fewer than 25,000 people. The city manager, Eric Wobser, even accredited this change to the messy history surrounding Christopher Columbus and the holiday becoming controversial in recent years.

Sandusky joins many states and cities in changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day or removing the holiday altogether. This includes cities such as Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, and Salt Lake City.  

However, many cities and states are not giving paid days off to vote like Sandusky is now. States have different statutes on getting time off to vote, such as an hour amount. Voting in general presidential elections can take longer than expected, as observed in the 2016 elections when voting machines malfunctioned in many states such as Colorado and Pennsylvania.

Many voters who do not receive paid time off from their jobs have to vote early in the morning when the polls open or after work, typically 5 or 6 p.m. This poses several problems. Lines are longer during these times, meaning potentially arriving late to work or standing in line outside the polling station until dark. This is unethical. Countless voters have families to get to and make dinner for when they get off work and they do not have the time to stand in a line to accomplish their civic duty.

This is why it is so important to applaud Sandusky for its work to combat this issue. This gives voters the option to go to the voting booths at any time of day that may convenient to them.

Autumn Rakosky, a sophomore at Ohio University and Sandusky resident, thinks the change will be beneficial to Sandusky residents. “Making voting day a holiday would encourage people to go out and vote,” she said. “It would give them more time to actually vote since they wouldn’t be pressed for time to get to the polls after work or school.”

Critics may say that there is no need for Election Day to be a paid holiday because there is the mail-in ballot option in many states, including Ohio. However, many people prefer voting on Election Day for the sentimental value. There is something to be said for the feeling of checking boxes on a ballot in a small booth that does not compare to filling in circles on a mail-in ballot at your dining room table.

Sandusky’s changing out Columbus Day for Election Day is a big step for Ohio. It shows bigger cities, like Cincinnati and Cleveland, that change is possible. It will be interesting to see how the next general election works in Sandusky and if many cities will make changes following.

Madeline Kramer is a sophomore studying political science at Ohio University. The views and opinions of this piece are not those of The New Political.

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