Fix the System

The poltical system of the USA is facing major issues of which the average citizen is unaware. The power to fix these issues lies solely in the hands of the public.

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Location: Peabody, Massachusetts, United States

Thursday, September 07, 2006

RMPP - Issue 4: Election Day Holiday

Election Day is the most important day of the year for a democracy. Independence Day celebrates our country's birth, but it is Election Day that keeps our country's heart beating. Without it, our democracy dies immediately.

With such great importance, why is it not already a national holiday? It should be declared so. In addition to declaring it a holiday, all employed people should be given at least 4 consecutive hours off during polling hours. There should be very few exceptions to this rule, even for emergency personnel. During an actual emergency they may be required to work, but should then be able to vote via absentee ballot.

Giving people this time off will at least allow the them the opportunity to vote. Many working class people are inhibited from voting by long work hours, commutes and other responsibilities. Four hours should allow enough time for anyone to vote if they wish.

However, most people go to the polls poorly informed. It can be extremely difficult to find thorough information on all the candidates in one's district. The Internet has helped this problem greatly, but it is still not used effectively, especially in local elections. In any case, having the entire day off should allow people time to educate themselves about the issues before going to the polls, should they choose to do so.

One of the nice things about this proposal, is that individuals can act upon it. Business owners can give people time off to vote without being required to do so. Employees can ask for this time off, too. Everyone should make a point of going to the polls informed. Real political dialogue needs to be revived - educating ourselves about the issues are the first step in this revival.

Let us not be a democracy in word only, where we say anyone can vote, but rather, let us show our democratic spirit by encouraging all citizens to vote through accommodating policies.

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