Election Day holiday

Federal lawmakers are debating various election reforms, such as compiling universal registration rolls and implementing early voting. Although those reforms are properly considered, they will not remedy the problems where making Election Day a federal holiday would. In the historic election of 2008, many states are reporting their voter turnout numbers have not, as expected, shattered records. In Minnesota, the percent of eligible voters casting ballots missed the secretary of stateâÄôs goal of 80 percent by three percentage points, just surpassing 2004 numbers. Michael McDonald of George Mason University estimated that this yearâÄôs national turnout to be roughly 64 percent, about 4 percent more than in 2004. Compiling a universal registration roll will make registering at the polls easier for voters and make third parties like ACORN irrelevant. But putting the burden on the federal government to compile accurate rolls is a dangerous prospect because mistakes could be catastrophic on such centralized databases. And early voting attracts more voters, but it would not completely solve what media outlets across the state and nation reported occurring on Election Day: long lines at the polls. Long lines, moreover, come with early voting as well. We applaud measures such as early voting and streamlining the registration process in states. But those systematic measures are only small steps making voting a more handy process for voters with jobs, families and various unceasing commitments. Marking Election Day as a federal holiday would assuage the burden of those commitments and bring patriotic recognition of the nationâÄôs ultimate civic exercise.