Sandusky, Ohio, just voted to make their Election Day a paid holiday for municipal employees. Election Day has become so time-consuming with increased scrutiny and inconvenient locations that early voting has become increasingly popular. Same with vote by mail. But many will prefer to vote on Election Day, and we should be making it easier to vote, not harder. They even made sure it was a Tuesday off so folks didn’t make a three-day weekend of it.
“We are swapping them to prioritize Voting Day as a day off so that our employees can vote,” city manager Eric Wobser said. “It’s also because Columbus Day has become controversial, and many cities have eliminated it as a holiday.”
Even better was that the paid holiday was moved from Columbus Day, keeping the unions’ number of paid holidays while removing the honor long paid to the guy we learned nice things about in grade school, who in real life was really more of a killing monster and child rapist.
Not only is this an important step for voter empowerment, perhaps the most important part is this shows how significant electoral reform can be established at the municipal level. While the House holds hearings on HR1, the For The People Act, it’s not expected that Trump will sign it or that Senate Republicans will vote for it. It’s more of a “someday” thing. When the Help America Vote Act was passed in 2002 to respond to the disaster of the 2000 Florida election, HAVA brought more problems than solutions, instituting the provisional ballot and paying for touchscreen voting machines.
While we tend to think that all important change comes from the top down, the reality is that we can make change at a local level then build upward. Reform is easier to embrace when you can point to its success elsewhere.