Our View: Election day should be a school holiday

On Nov. 3, Americans across the country will exercise their right to vote by going to the polls and participating in the 59th presidential election. For the Berry community members, it can be difficult to find the time to vote during a busy Tuesday, while already juggling classes, meetings and work. Election day needs to be a school holiday so that college faculty, staff and students can be given the same opportunity to vote. We should be able to vote on election day and have a say like everyone else. 

Other workplaces will usually allow their employees to take off for a portion of the day to go vote. Why should college be any different? Especially during this semester, we have had to sacrifice so much already, and our right to vote does not need to be included in that list. What is one day of the semester when all of our breaks have been cancelled? We are not asking for much, just a voice and a ballot to help change the future of our nation. 

In past years, students have chosen to skip their classes on election day and make the trip home to vote in person. Professors have to consider how to work in voting during their schedule. Regardless, students and professors should not have to choose because we should not have classes on election day.  

As the next generation, we need to participate in voting and voice our opinion about the future. We have the unique opportunity to create the change that we want to see in the world, and voting at the polls is a large part of how we do that. While absentee ballots are an option for college students, some may forget to mail theirs in, have difficulty receiving it or simply miss the registration deadline. By cancelling classes on election day, more students would be given the chance to vote.  

This election year, in Georgia, early voter turnouts have already been higher than ever before according to the Secretary of State’s office. The presidential race is a close one, and now more than ever, every vote counts. Typically, the college-aged voters are the least represented at the polls. Despite the countless advertisements and campaigns, college students are not voting. This could partially be due to having to apply for absentee ballots and attend classes on election day. By making election day a holiday, we can negate these two factors. College students will no longer have to apply and fill out absentee ballots and may travel home for the election. 

Most students were not eligible to vote in the previous presidential election, and this is the first presidential election that they can cast a ballot in. It is a special moment in their lives, and it deserves to be honored by having the ability to vote at the polls in person. Freshmen may also be participating in their first election, and upperclassmen students may not have had the chance to experience voting in person since attending college. 

Having a holiday on election day allows faculty and staff to travel to their respective polls and cast their ballots without the stress and worry of fitting in voting between classes and meetings or having to cancel class. It also creates another advantage for the community as it allows us to more closely follow the press coverage of the results and vote-counting after the polls close. 

While every student may not be able to travel to their local polls, making the choice to cancel classes on election day can make an impact. It will allow more students to cast a ballot in person, than not at all. Having this holiday shows the Berry community that our political rights are not being ignored and acknowledges the college’s respect for our beliefs and voice. 

Not holding classes on election day ultimately decreases stress for the entire Berry community. Every member can make their voice heard by casting their ballot. Each and every election impacts our future, and we deserve the opportunity to make that future ourselves. There is no harm in letting students, faculty and staff off for one day of the semester. Let them decide who they want to see as the next President of the United States. 

This week’s Bubble Banter:

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